Who is IDK?
Jason Mills, known in the rap world as IDK, formerly Jay IDK, was raised in Prince George’s County, Maryland and was born in England. While the 27-year-old has just now released his debut album, he has been dropping projects as Jay IDK since 2014. It was only in 2017 when he changed his name to IDK, upon the release of IWASVERYBAD. Following this, he would go on to tour with Denzel Curry, A$AP Ferg, and Buddy, and continued to gain recognition.
IDK’s debut album Is He Real? was originally supposed to be released in 2017 but was delayed for many reasons, including sample clearances. In 2018, the Maryland native dropped singles as well as an EP titled IDK & FRIENDS :) to hold his fans over. The first singles from Is He Real? were “Digital” and “24,” which was featured on the Madden NFL 20 soundtrack. These two singles were the first songs to be released under IDK’s new label Clue No Clue, LLC in partnership with Warner Records.
The production on Is He Real? is covered by IDK himself, as well as producers that he frequents like BLWYRMND, Kal Banx, and Eden Eliah Nagar. Production from Frank Dukes, Wallis Lane, Rascal, as well as many others are featured on the album as well.
The album starts with IDK asking a child (Maxmilian Battle) what happens when we die on “Cloud Blu.” Maxmilian goes on with this long explanation with very childlike imagery, before completely changing at the end, saying that you then wake up from a dream because God isn’t real. This doesn’t set the tone for the project, because this project isn’t bashing God or religion, it’s just genuine curiosity.
Track two is the first real song on the album, “42 Hundred Choices.” The song touches on his troubles growing up in the church over hard-hitting yet eerie production. The pre-chorus and chorus add to the eeriness of the song.
The song then perfectly transitions into the second skit of the album, “The “E” In Blue.” The audio on the skit alludes to someone being baptized, as the vocals go in and out while a priest is performing the baptism, this role is played by DMX, who has never shied away from speaking on his religion.
“Alone,” the fourth track of the album touches on IDK being an outcast growing up. The production is filled with vocals, both sampled and extra vocals from IDK himself. This song can be seen as an anthem for those that don’t fit in, the song doesn’t suggest to act out against being an outcast, it encourages those that are alone that there’s nothing wrong with that.
Another smooth transition, this time with hard-hitting keys, we’re brought to the fifth song and the second single of the album, “24.” This song has a lot to do with IDK being very wise, as he made the song to be repeated without noticing. “24” is catchy, and the beat goes in, yet he manages to still throw in religious references, referencing the Bible verse Matthew 6:24. The number 24 itself is important to the Bible, aside from just that verse, as there are many things associated with the number, BibleStudy.Org cites a few.
Track six is what some would call a stereotypical song, talking about girls and money. During the entirety of “Lilly,” Pastor Kerney Thomas’ vocals are placed throughout the song screaming “Devil,” taken from his line in the intro: “I’ll say that’s the devil.” The song is yet another song on the project that is under the two-minute mark and is used to lead into the next song.
“Porno” features Pusha T and JID, as well as vocals from two pornstars. The song plays on the temptation of sex and speaks on what pornography can do to someone, especially at a young age. The bridge features very dirty vocals from IDK and pornstar Kapri Styles, who many thought was Rico Nasty at first, and leads into Pusha T and JID’s features. The song is all over the place with the vocals, sound effects, samples. and interludes, but it’s sure to be one of the most popular songs on the project with the all-star features.
The third skit on Is He Real? Is titled “I Do Me . . . You Do You” and it features a beautiful intro from IDK and JESSCX. The song then changes to IDK asking artist Tyler, The Creator about his stance on a higher power. Tyler has famously put down religion in the past, yet he says there has to be a higher power. IDK says something really interesting at the end that you’ll just have to listen to hear and ponder yourself.
Probably the most unexpected song from the album, the ninth track “December” is a fun love song that is a collaboration with Afro-fusion singer Burna Boy. At this time I can’t think of why this song is here, but because of the rest of the album, it’s clear IDK put it there for a reason.
“European Skies,” the song many are talking about because it was lacking a Frank Ocean sample that was originally planned, is the tenth song on the album. While the instrumental and vocals are beautiful, the song contains a lot of questions for God and the Bible.
Track 11 features a rather unorthodox pray from Chicago rapper GLC. The song, titled “No Cable,” doesn’t question religion, it rather touches on the issues in America and the rest of the world. IDK talks about his race and the problems he deals with, and also touches on Americans ignoring shootings all-together, as we’ve all become numb to them.
The catchy “Digital” comes next, the first single for the album. The song is another track that is filled with vocal samples and mixes catchiness with an important message. This time the message is about the cops vs. African American debate and the unfairness of it. While he talks about the unfairness, he talks about his wrong in the past tense, calling back to IWASVERYBAD, that told the stories of all his wrongdoings when he was younger.
The second to last song, “Michael What TF,” is a song detailing the troubles IDK had with his stepdad. The song is credited as being a collaboration with James Blake, and I, just like many, was confused as to what he did on the song. James Blake took to Twitter to clarify that IDK just sampled an older instrumental from James.
“Julia . . .” closes off the album by making another song for his mother, detailing the sad cause of her death. Julie Lynch, has been talked about prominently is his music, very commonly on the skit “Mrs. Lynch, Your Son Is The Devil” from IWASVERYBAD. After the second verse, an interlude where IDK repeats “Where’s God?” over and over again leads to the outro, a conversation between IDK and someone else, ending by asking: “Then how, can we say there is no God?”
While it was not on Is He Real?, or any other project, IDK also recently covered SWV’s “Rain” in honor of his mother on her birthday, who passed away in 2016. “Rain” was her favorite song according to IDK.
With that being said, this album is special. While I’m religious and I know what I believe, many don’t know what they believe, they don’t know what to believe. In hip-hop, we have Christian hip-hop artists, and then we have artists that speak on religion in both positive and negative ways, but not like this. This album doesn’t bash anything, it just asks the question that many ask all the time, whether they’re religious or not. In terms of a hip-hop album, this album sounds great, the transitions mixed with the beats and the lyrical content, it’s a great album. Songs like “No Cable,” “24,” and “December” are completely different, and they’re standout tracks. They all serve a purpose, and it’s probably a purpose beyond my understanding, but I still take away a deeper meaning from them than just what’s on the surface.
What do you think of the album and the questions IDK touched on? Let us know in the comments below! You can find Is He Real? anywhere music is streamed now!
SIGNING OFF - AYDEN MORRIS