The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company.
Over the past few years, Atlanta’s own J.I.D has emerged as one of the most promising, up-and-coming MCs in the game. Since inking a deal with Dreamville Records back in early 2017, his career has been on an upward trajectory. During this time, J.I.D garnered respect from some of hip hop’s legends, as well as from his peers. Fresh off the success of last year’s DiCaprio 2 tape and several standout verses on this year’s Revenge of the Dreamers III, the 28-year-old deservingly is receiving more attention than ever.
Understanding that, we’d like to highlight seven essential J.I.D records that new fans need to hear. These songs effectively highlight his artistic style and what he brings to the table as an MC. Check them out below!
“You give me a month and I’ll make a mountain move/You give me two months and I’ll make a moon for you/It’s still J.I.D. Route, just a little bit smoother”
These are the opening lines to “Drew,” an early cut that lives on J.I.D’s 2013 mixtape, Para Tu. A smooth instrumental accompanied with some heavenly female vocals proclaiming, “I’ll pray for you” set the table for J.I.D to poetically speak to a plethora of topics ranging from relationships to his overall life intent. This is a strong track filled with experimentation, but was an early showcase of his talent and eclectic style.
“October / 3 Storms” featuring Earthgang
There are tons of great J.I.D and Earthgang collaborations, as they’ve developed amazing chemistry over the past decade. Their unique styles, vocal implementations and overall high energy always tend to shine when they get together. “October/ 3 Storms” is one of their strongest offerings, as all three artists completely go off on this one. It’s a Spillage Village classic.
“Never” was the first single released for J.I.D’s The Never Story and is still one of his most popular records. It’s a reflective joint that gives you insight into his life struggles, but sets the stage for him to charismatically showcase his undeniable range as a rapper. In a sit-down with GENIUS, he stated, “I made it in a real crazy time in my life. When I was trying to get shit, but I didn’t really have shit.” That energy of hunger is clear throughout, which makes for a compelling listen.
On this Willie B-produced gem, listeners are granted a 2-minute bar session that impresses even in its brevity. The song flows as a freestyle, and J.I.D uses this track as a way to simply get some rhymes off and flex lyrically. Willie B’s menacing, but eerie instrumental works as the perfect complement to the Atlanta MC’s very specific style of rapping.
“Lauder” serves as the powerful outro to J.I.D’s 2017 release, The Never Story. Over a J.Cole laced production, J.I.D delivers three riveting verses that display his prowess as a writer, as he seamlessly jumps in and out of flows, delivers top-tier wordplay and gives the listener content that relates directly to his life experiences. It was the right song to close out the project because it leaves fans with one of the most impressive exhibitions of his career, thus far.
Over a fire instrumental provided by Nice Rec & Christo, J.I.D spazzes out with relentless flows and bars on top of bars. The clarity in his rapid-fire delivery may be the most impressive element of “151 Rum” and even with several tongue-twisting stretches, the Atlanta MC sounds even more comfortable than when he raps at a slower cadence. Purely from a stylistic perspective, this is a record that embodies why he’s viewed as a “superstar in the making” by many. This is one of those tracks that you have to max out the volume on when you press play.
“Cause I been working hella hard, shit ain’t really working out/I been praying to the Lord, shit ain’t really working out/I been looking to the stars, keep my head up in the clouds, Shit ain’t really working out”
Being relatable is an attribute that many talented acts simply don’t have. They make great music, but lack the ability to connect with the listener on a personal level. This has never been an issue for J.I.D, as he’s an artist who presents his real-life experiences in a way that makes it easy to relate to. “Working Out” off DiCaprio 2 is a joint that articulates the emotions that one feels when things just aren’t going their way despite putting effort. Another introspective, great record.
If you love Atlanta stars and hip hop, you’ll definitely want to join us and AT&T in the ATL on Sept. 12- Sept. 14 for our three-day REVOLT Summit, which was created to help rising moguls reach the next level. Head to REVOLTSummit.com for more info and to get your passes now!
More by Marcus Blackwell: