Sounds Like: Boom-bap revival by way of Outkast's "Elevators (Me & You)"
For Fans of: J. Cole, Anderson Paak, Kendrick Lamar's "Sing About Me, I'm Dying of Thirst"
Why You Should Pay Attention: J.I.D. is signed to J. Cole's Interscope imprint Dreamville. Like Gucci Mane, he claimed East Atlanta's Bouldercrest Road, but raises and strains his voice in a way that recalls Californian Kendrick Lamar at his most stressed. J.I.D. scoffs at how trap rap shifted from being workingman's blues to a experimental playspace where poseurs roam. "Then you say you trap, you be lying nigga/I don't fuck with none of y'all happy trappers," he raps in The Never Story, his Dreamville debut. This bleak, no-nonsense perspective first caught J. Cole's attention in 2014. As part of the Atlanta-founded Spillage Village and the group Earthgang, J.I.D. met Dreamville producer Ced Brown while on tour. Nurturing that relationship led to J.I.D.'s biggest feature yet. Last year, he sang backing vocals for what became "Jermaine's Interlude," off DJ Khaled's Grammy-nominated Major Key. Now, he and Levi Carter are opening for Jazz Cartier on an 18-date tour.
He Says: "I just got my wisdom tooth taken out. I started recording again last week after I healed up. This is the first time I've been able to do the shit and there's no physical problems. I used to have straight migraines after shows or when I record, and I was spitting blood out because I bit my cheek with the fucking wisdom tooth, and it was just sucking for years. So they took my wisdom tooth out. But I take it with me just in case. I was talking to one of my engineers, and he's like, 'I don't know, man. You might lose all your juice after they took your wisdom tooth out. It just may not be the same.' He was making a joke, like a total asshole. So I definitely got that shit with me. On some weirdo shit."
Hear for Yourself: "Never" has J.I.D. coming out swinging at those who glorify a harmful lifestyle. Christina Lee