J.I.D: The Never Story – Review | Cross Examinations

Release Date: March 10, 2017
Labels: Dreamville / Interscope
Genres: Alternative R&B / Southern Hip Hop / Trap / Underground Hip Hop

The newest artist signed to J.Cole’s label Dreamville, J.I.D has released one of the more solid Hip Hop releases of this year so far. The Atlanta native certainly emphasizes his southern roots so much so that at some points he sounds a little bit like Lil Wayne, but he also seems to take some influences from the West Coast as well because, throughout the album, we hear elements of Kendrick Lamar and Anderson Paak, especially with the latter. His voice has that smoothness and raspiness that Paak has only J.I.D seems to be more calculated with his voice than with the soulfulness and swagger of Paak, but that certainly does not take away from what the album is.

The album starts off with a sort of acapella track “Doo Wop,” where the vocal track sounds exactly like a doo-wop group from the fifties and sixties. It leads into the second track “General,” where we start to hear the raspy and somewhat whiny (but whiny in a good way) voice that I mentioned earlier. With this track, we begin to see what J.I.D’s early life was like, from not really seeing his older brother to his introduction to Hip Hop. “NEVER” is probably the first track on the album that I really enjoyed. With the flow in his first verse and his rhyme scheme, I was uncertain that it could get any better. Then, the beat switched and J.I.D’s flow got a lot more bouncy with the beat. It’s one of the first tracks where we hear the Kendrick Lamar influence being utilized.

“EdEddnEddy” is another one of my favorites from the album. Of course being named after the popular children’s animation series on Cartoon Network Ed, Edd n Eddy, this track chronicles the mishaps of J.I.D and his two friends. The beat is a bit inconspicuous, meaning that I didn’t really expect much to come from it, but again J.I.D’s flow on this track is definitely one of the best. While I enjoyed the track, I don’t feel that it should have been placed on the standard track list; it has more of a deluxe edition bonus track feel to it, or maybe even like a hidden track. Still, one of my favorites from the album.

“D/vision” is another good song with some good featured verses by Doctur Dot and Johnny Venus from EARTHGANG. The album’s next track “Hereditary” has more of an R&B feel to it with some elements of Hip Hop sprinkled in with it, but I still like it and it’s one of my overall favorites on the album. It is one of the few tracks where he exclusively sings. The hook on this track actually kind of reminds me of the hook from Drake’s song “Forever.” “All Bad” is another decent track, but for some reason, it did not really connect with me. However, both of the vocalists on the track, J.I.D and Mereba, sound very professional and they are really enjoyable to listen to. The instrumentation at the end unnerves me a little bit, but in a good way, and it kind of makes me feel as though I am trapped.

“Underwear” is another track where the influence of Kendrick Lamar seems very strong. The flow and rhyme scheme on this track is top quality and the hook just makes you want to nod your head. I also liked the underwear reference in it too; it’s pretty funny. “8701” isn’t anything special. It’s one of the shorter songs that appears as though it should have been about two, two-and-a-half minutes longer. The feature by 6LACK (pronounced “black”) is actually quite enjoyable. In the song, J.I.D boasts that another rapper’s best shit “isn’t better than his worst shit.” “Hoodbooger” just basically repeats how I feel about the previoius track.

“Somebody” is probably my favorite track on the album. It sounds like a very inspiration and uplifting track where J.I.D, again, channels his inner Kendrick Lamar, especially during the first six or seven lines of the second verse, where his flow never ceases to stop and his rhyme scheme starts going crazy. It’s definitely one of the best tracks on the album, in my opinion. “LAUDER” closes off the album on a high note. The hook on this track is really catchy and you can’t help but sing along with it.

Overall, this album was very solid for a debut project by someone who is as young J.I.D is; he is twenty-two at the time of this review. He seems to mix Hip Hop with R&B and a little bit of Trap music. While I think this combination worked well in the concept of this album, the album in its entirety seems a bit all over the place. Depsite this, however, as I said, it’s still very solid. Because of this, I give this album a 85 / B.

Favorite tracks include: “Somebody,” “EdEddnEddy,” “LAUDER,” “NEVER,” and “Underwear.”


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