Today, visionary Maryland artist IDK releases his new album USEE4YOURSELF, a kaleidoscopic tour de force of dynamic songwriting and poignant self-examination. Laced with luxe production from The Neptunes, CashMoneyAP, DJ Dahi, Blue Rondo, and IDK himself, and a far-ranging guest list including Young Thug, Offset, the late greats DMX and MF DOOM, Rico Nasty, and many more. The project reaffirms IDK’s status as one of the most inventive auteurs of his generation. Listen to USEE4YOURSELF HERE. The album is introspective and somber at points, as IDK sifts through memories of a fractured childhood (“1995”) and mulls the way his upbringing in a troubled environment influenced his ability to love (“Cry in Church”).
But the project also explores tons of other themes and moods. He meditates on materialism (“Red”), masculinity (“Peloton”), and religion (“Closure”), proof of IDK’s status as one of rap’s deepest thinkers and most vivid songwriters. But while there are moments of pathos, there are also songs that, simply, go hard. Powered by Neptunes production, and electric appearances from SwaeLee and RicoNasty, “Keto” shows another vibrant side of IDK’s style. The cut merges ostentatious flexes with unexpected guests for a seamless banger, further demonstrating the breadth and depth of his vision for the project. This follows the recent release of USEE4YOURSELF single “PradadaBang” featuring Young Thug. IDK’s harmonious mixing and matching also loops in performances from Slick Rick, JayElectronica, T-Pain, Westside Gunn, SiR, and others.
All of which speaks to IDK’s knack for reconciling disparate elements into impressionistic hits — USEE4YOURSELF bears the mark of a producer with the sensibilities of a master curator. IDK has lately become as known for his songwriting ability as for his extracurricular passions. He’s now teaming up with No Label and Harvard University clinical law professor Brian K. Price to launch No Label Academy. Partners include NIKE, Logitech, Brand Jordan, GUESS, Converse and more. The 10-day music business program will find him instructing at Harvard University’s Boston campus August 21-31. “I decided to create this program for the purpose of letting people in the BIPOC community know that a job in the arts is a lot more realistic than what society makes it seem these days,” IDK says of No Label Academy.
On Monday, IDK hosted the KKIDD Family Reunion, a cookout designed to expose local youth to a well-curated environment designed to broaden the horizons of local dreamers. Filled with art activities supplied by the estates of Jean Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, food from local vendors, a basketball tournament, and more, KKIDD Family Reunion is multifaceted and genuine. Proceeds from IDK’s merch sales at the event will benefit his former school, DuVal High. The event is just the latest step in IDK’s lengthy journey to educate, and invest, in the community. “The way that we build our legacies, the way that we build our communities, that knowledge is important to pass on,” he says.
With USEE4YOURSELF, No Label Academy, and the KKIDD Family Reunion, IDK — short for Ignorantly Delivering Knowledge — has put himself in a prime position to enlighten and entertain throughout the rest of 2021 and beyond.
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