Welcome to “New Music with Nick.” In this column, I will be reviewing some of the most notable new album releases across various genres, focusing on hip-hop, R&B and pop music. Join me in exploring the ever-shifting landscape of the streaming era.
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JID: “The Forever Story” (August 26, 2022)
Although some think of him as a newcomer in rap, Destin Route is anything but that. Better known as JID, the 31-year-old rapper out of Atlanta, Georgia, has been making music for over a decade now. His potential as an artist has been obvious ever since he stopped playing football and began his full pursuit toward a music career. Unique beat selections, abstract flows, an intriguing personality and a personable demeanor have always made him stand out amongst the many rappers trying to claim their place in the Atlanta hip-hop scene and beyond.
A string of mixtapes in the early 2010s helped JID to start to make a name for himself, showing evident potential but certainly some room to grow as well. Tapes like “Cakewalk” and “Route of Evil” showed the young rapper bursting with persona and skill but — as with any rapper just getting started and finding their way — looking for his sound. 2013’s “Para Tu” was the first real compilation that showed JID’s level of talent, with some of the most elaborate production choices and best songs in the genre at that moment. It has always been obvious to me that JID had the potential to make a classic album, and that moment finally came to fruition with “The Forever Story.”
From a technical standpoint, there are very few artists in the world right now that can rap on JID’s level. Even in the all-time scope of rap, his pure skill remains in the upper echelon. I believe JID’s proficiency as a rapper will stand the test of time, as his skills are truly of an all-time great. The varying flows across the album are part of what makes it so refreshing and entertaining. He has a true gift with being able to bend syllables and utilize a seemingly-infinite variety of creative flows. His delivery is also one of the most amazing in all of rap. When hearing songs like “Raydar” and “Lauder Too,” it’s easy to just sit back and marvel at the skill that is on display. When simply focusing on the technical aspects of the genre, this album is a showcase in the art of rapping.
Lyricism is one of the biggest areas of growth that I have personally seen in JID. He has always had a second nature of rapping with incredible ability and crafting clever lines, but the cohesion, depth, and storytelling that he brings into his newest work was unmatched in his previous works.
“Sistanem” is a lyrical masterpiece with depth, sorrow, grief, and poignance all being delivered through marvelously connected songwriting. “Crack Sandwich” is another lyrical highlight moment. An infectious hook blended with heavy-hitting verses that packed extensive storytelling to form one of the best songs on the album and one of the best songs of his career.
Maybe the most impressive and vivid storytelling came on “2007,” the album’s intended outro which was actually not cleared in time for the album’s official release and is still undergoing a clearance process.
The art is holistically curated and no elements are left without profound thought and care. Not one sound or syllable felt wasted. Every song creates a distinct atmosphere that highlights the time that was taken with the production, songwriting, and delivery in every single part of the album. A front-to-back listen is graphic and authentic, leaving a listener with a profound picture of JID’s life in Atlanta and his growth into the person and rapper that he is today.
It’s obvious that time has been taken with this album, and that the last few years have involved countless hours being poured into making an album that his fans could love and appreciate. The creative and artistic detail in the sequencing, the production selections, and the writing on every song is truly something that all rappers and artists should aspire to.
Constantly presenting an abundance of heart and soul, JID makes himself an easy person to pull for. He shows that he is somebody who is open, expressive, and puts his fans, hometown, and community first in what he does as an artist. It feels like you really get to know JID, his life story, and his personal struggles across the album. Songs like “Money” not only provide wonderful music but feel-good anthems that ground and center JID as somebody who is one of the people and somebody who is for the people. He has always felt like a humble and personable artist rather than some untouchable superstar rapper.
Also of note was the expansion of his sound and the use of his extensive skill set, such as the emotional and impressive vocals provided on tracks like “Kody Blu 31”.
I could spend hours going over the precision of the storytelling, thematics, and overall artistry that was put together by JID. Nearly every song was not just good but fantastic, and the cohesion was effortless while still providing an interesting array of sounds that allowed all of JID’s skills to be highlighted appropriately.
Everything came together perfectly for JID. This is a defining moment for the Atlanta rapper’s career. The execution created an unforgettable piece of art and an everlasting impression on the genre. Few albums feel like they really cement an artist’s legacy in a genre with such a precise time and place, but this project certainly fits that feel. Everything that I have hoped for from JID over the past decade has finally come to fruition and has been executed nearly flawlessly. “The Forever Story” is a modern classic southern rap album and should be remembered as a legendary project.
Favorite Songs: “Crack Sandwich,” “Raydar,” “Money,” “Sistanem,” “Surround Sound,” “Dance Now,” “Lauder Too,” “Can’t Punk Me,” “Just In Time,” “Kody Blu 31,” “Bruddanem,” “Can’t Make You Change,” “Stars”
Album Score: 94/100
Check out this Spotify Playlist and like it to follow along with some of some of my favorite songs of 2022 as the year progresses!
Editor’s Note: This article is a review and includes subjective opinions, thoughts and critiques.