Conscious Rap or Trap?
The average music lover witnesses quite a few music debates within their lifetime. A while ago, I witnessed a debate that went a little something like this…
Homie 1: “I don’t actually care all that much whether a rapper is preaching or talking about dumb shit for the most part. I just need your flow to be on point and the beat to be nice. I like to listen to music for enjoyment, not to learn.”
Homie 2: “Son, it’s lessons in everything, but you should want to learn from the things you enjoy like your music.”
Homie 1: “Not really. I enjoy seeing girls twerk half naked. I don’t learn nothing from that though. I don’t like hip hop heads that be like ‘rappers should always be saying something substantial.’ N***a shut up and let me just bump what I wanna bump. When I wanna learn, I’ll read a book.”
Homie 2: “Man look, I hear you but it’s so much bullshit in this world. I understand you just want to crank but sometimes you gotta tap into that deeper consciousness and yeah I’m a hip hop head. I like rap. I don’t like just a good beat. The beat is only half the battle. It’s about the message. If a song ain’t telling you nothin’, how can you truly be uplifted by it?”
So I guess the question is, “conscious rap or trap? Music with a message or a beat you can bump to?” Yet the real question is, “do we really need to choose?” Jay IDK (Ignorantly Delivering Knowledge) has introduced the trap house to the suburbs so now we don’t have to.
Jay IDK, born Jason Mills, has been “mixing consciousness with ignorance” since his debut release in Spring 2014, Sex, Drugs, and Homework. But he really made waves in the music scene in August of 2015 with the release of his mixtape, SubTrap. “I love Trap music. I love music with substance,” said the PG County, Maryland native, “so I figured a good way to do this ‘ignorantly delivering knowledge’ thing would be to bring both of them together.” With SubTrap, which stands for “suburban trap music” as well as “trap music with substance,” IDK successfully tackles that feat. He delivers meaningful messages and depicts stories of everyday strife through the perspective of six different characters, all derived from actual individuals he encountered while in and out of jail from 2009-2012.
There’s Jay (Jay IDK himself), King Trappy III (the drug lord), Jon Jon (the street hustler), Matt (the PCP addict), Ed (the crackhead) and Chris (the bio student who does drugs to escape reality).
Get to know these characters a bit more by listening to SubTrap, linked below.
Soon, Jay IDK was named “Best New Artist of 2015” by DJ Booth and “one of the best options to drive hip-hop back into a new golden era” by XXL. SubTrap made it clear that the self-proclaimed “socially conscious artist” is here to stay and help put the DMV on the map. With a work ethic that he describes as “inhuman” and “unhealthy,” IDK is often either in the studio putting in work towards the next project, or traveling to perform at different music venues across the country. His grind eventually led to the release of his latest full-length album, Empty Bank, in September of 2016.
Now if you like SubTrap, I’m convinced you’ll love Empty Bank. With features from artists like Masego and Fat Trel, IDK discusses common topics like sex, drugs, money, his women and his rivals, but with the touch of a conscious twist. The album has a surplus of head-bobbin’ beats, clever wordplay, not to mention humorously entertaining skits. Singles like “Mentality,” “Somebody” and “Shit On My Rivals (Interlude)” have given Empty Bank the attention it rightfully deserves.
Check out the visuals for “Mentality,” linked below.
By mixing the consciousness of an old soul with the cheekiness of youth, Jay IDK has captured listeners and developed a heavy following without the help of any label. “I want the world to know that I am more than a rap artist,” said IDK, “I produce, direct and do a lot of other things and I have a lot of ambition. I think the key to anything is longevity. I speak to our generation in a way that they will listen and I have a lot to say.”
Listen to what Jay IDK has to say on the Empty Bank album here:
With a consistent work ethic and strong storytelling skills, there’s no question as to why Jay IDK has experienced so much success over the past few years. He’s performed at some of the largest music festivals like Coachella and SXSW. He’s opened for Future, been nominated for XXL Freshmen, gone on-air at Sway in the Morning and Hot 97 with Peter Rosenburg, and has over five million streams collectively on his Spotify and SoundCloud. Additionally, he has major support from popular music outlets like Complex Magazine, The Fader and Hot New Hip Hop, just to name a few.
“I want to be a household name. Like a really big artist, like superstar status,” said IDK in regards to career goals. Well, Jay IDK, we have no doubts in you getting to exactly where you want to be.
Stay Connected to Jay Idk and the HXLY movement on his website and by following his social networks!
Don’t forget to tune in next and every Monday for more up-and-coming wordsmiths to provide your Weekly Eargasms.
Until Next Time, Fam…