IDK, a London-born, Maryland-Washington D.C.-based rapper, may be hip-hop’s next big star. His 2019 studio debut album Is He Real? turned heads as a concept album that actually compelled the listeners to think, rather than just hear the same old hooks and choruses that are dominating the charts. That’s not to say the album isn’t pleasing on the ears though: IDK hits a variety of moods, genres, and vocal performances over unique and interesting beats.
Is He Real? originally caught my eye due to clever and persistent social media marketing by the rapper/singer/producer himself. The album instantly became one of my favorite releases of 2019, prompting me to dive deeper into IDK’s discography as well as attend a concert in Cambridge, Massachussetts.
Another thing I love about IDK is the layers to his music, with themes, symbolism, and hidden messages spread across the lyrics, artwork, and more. First and foremost, the album plays through with intentional track listing, as one song transitions into the next in unique ways. The last letter of each song on the album even spells out the “answer” to the titular question: “U See 4 Yourself.”
I could go on for pages and pages about the intricacies of the album, but I would really recommend you check it for yourself.
But back to the topic at hand: IDK’s new song “In My White Tee,” presumably from his upcoming album, aptly named, “U See 4 Yourself.”
In another intentional move, the single was released on April 9th (4/9) after Is He Real? was released on September 4th, (9/4) 2019.
IDK hyped up the release on his social media accounts, promoting the new song and also announcing he would be giving away money to needy fans over Cash App.
The single released on the night of April 9th, along with an accompanying music video.
The music video features interesting visuals and symbols, and is easily worth a watch. There are even QR codes spread throughout the video, appearing for a brief instant, to be scanned by keen-eyed fans. The ending result of scanning all the QR codes may leave fans surprised.
Musically, IDK picks up where he left off: delivering hard-hitting bars over an eerie, moody trap beat, accompanied by a catchy, interpolation-heavy chorus.
Interpolation is essentially taking the melody (or in some cases, the melody and exact words) of another song and recording your own vocal version of them, possibly changing some words. Sampling, on the other hand, has the original recording directly featured, and possibly altered.
In the chorus of “In My White Tee,” IDK manages to interpolate two songs by the early 2000’s rap group Dem Franchise Boyz: “White Tee” and “I Think They Like Me.”
“I Think They Like Me” has been interpolated many times, most famously by Childish Gambino in “I Don’t Think They Like Me” featuring Chance the Rapper. The song is also referenced vocally in Jay-Z’s “Venus vs. Mars” and “wokeuplikethis” by Playboi Carti featuring Lil Uzi Vert.
The chorus is simple and fun, but IDK crams an incredible amount of bars into the song’s two verses. His flow is infectious, and begs the listener to learn to rap the song for themselves.
If IDK has more great songs in the vault, his next album could be the one that pushes him from one of hip-hop’s most loved smaller acts to a full-fledged star. Keep your eye on the rapper for more music coming soon.
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Header Image Credit: Acquired from TrackBlasters Entertaiment
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