J.I.D. is an Atlanta-based rapper whose single "Never" was notably featured on Issa Rae's series Insecure. On this epic two-part banger, J.I.D. raps about not having much growing up, rejects material possessions, and as an underdog lyrical stylist, concedes that he hasn't "come up," yet, even as he's signed to J. Cole's Dreamville records. While he rejects the current foregrounding of beat production typical of Atlanta trap by focusing the listener on his vocal craft, his beats still slap.
With production help from J. Cole on his sprawling 2017 album The Never Story, J.I.D. mixes honest storytelling about the adversity constant reminders that he's a better rapper than you can ever dream to be—from outright saying it to showing you with mind-bending word-games with a distinct nasally flow. His slew of references display an encyclopedic knowledge of his profession, while pop-culture references to cartoons like Ed Edd N Eddy sit alongside ruminations on what it means to swallow the blue and red pills at the same time, a sentiment that explains J.I.Ds eye-always-open philosophy. J.I.D.'s friends and labelmates, the rap duo EarthGang, are similarly known for their heady and honest lyricism mixed with impressive, head-bobbing production. —Reid Kurkerewicz