JID – THE FOREVER STORY REVIEW

If you were to ask most Hip Hop fans to make a list of the most talented rising stars in the Rap game, most would put JID at or near the top of their list. JID has been extremely highly regarded since he first broke onto the scene in the early 2010s. His independent projects Evil, Para Tu, and Dicaprio, which were released in 2012, 2013, and 2015 respectively, were extremely well received among underground Hip Hop fans when they came out. He didn’t start getting mainstream recognition until 2017, though, when he released his debut studio album, The Never Story, with J. Cole’s Dreamville Records(via Interscope Records). He immediately followed this with his album Dicaprio 2, which was also critically acclaimed. Both of these albums were widely praised, and they cemented JID as one of the most exciting artists ascending to the top of the Hip Hop genre. Many music fans have compared JID to Kendrick Lamar due to his vocal tone, lyrical sophistication, and a seemingly infinite number of flows he can rap with. JID’s latest project, The Forever Story, was one of the most anticipated Rap records of the year. So many fans have extremely high expectations for this record, and JID should be about to meet those expectations if this album’s quality matches his talent. With that being said, here is how I feel about JID’s The Forever Story. Please let me know in the comments below how you feel about this record, and also list your favorite songs from the project down there as well.

The Forever Story starts with ‘Galaxy,’ which is a brief introduction to the project. The first part of the track has a choir singing over a soulful melody. Some of the lyrics in this section are an interpolation from his 2017 track ‘Doo Wop.’ These lyrics are about trying to be a star and praying you will find your place. The second half of the song sounds like a voicemail where someone is mad at JID for not picking up the phone. This person states that JID has become fake in his newfound fame. Following this, we get ‘Raydar,’ which immediately brings the energy level to 1000%. The first half of the instrumental on this one is simple but heavy. It consists of a fast, sputtering Hi-Hat and an intense, distorted 808 drum. JID uses a rapid-fire flow in the first half of the song; the infection in his voice has a ton of attitude and is very brazen. One thing I think is cool about this section of the song is the football game sounds in the background of the hook. About halfway through the song, a melody kicks in and the beat changes. The instrumental in this section of the track has an old-school Trap sound to me. The melody and beat remind me of late 2000s Trap instrumentals. It has a super grand and large sound. JID’s flow and voice in the section are slower, more deliberate, and more impactful. It goes with the energy of this part of the instrumental well. On ‘Raydar,’ JID talks about corruption in the music industry and how the system treats black people as a whole. He wants to find solutions to these problems but has to take care of himself first. ‘Dance Now,’ featuring Kenny Mason, was the second single released from the record; it has quickly become a fan favorite. ‘Dance Now’ is a high-octane banger that will make any Hip Hop fan pumped up when it comes on. The song has a dark and foreboding melody which is provided by humming from JID himself. The beat is just as bold and brash as the first half of the song that precedes it; this instrumental gets pumped up whenever I hear it. JID uses a fast and tough flow on this track that sounds great on this instrumental. ‘Dance Now’ goes so hard and is so fun. On ‘Dance Now,’ JID raps about people doubting him; not only do they doubt his success, they doubt he is still hood. JID is determined to prove everyone wrong in the biggest way he can. ‘Crack Sandwich’ brings in an old school Hip Hop sound; this instrumental has a 90s Boom-Bap element to it. It has a different kind of melody than most Boom-Bap music though; whereas most music in that genre has a lighter sound that makes people want to dance, this one has a dark and somber melody. It makes the track almost sad and creepy. I love how JID fluctuates his vocal tones throughout the track. It gives the song so much texture and adds to its unsettling feeling. On ‘Crack Sandwich,’ JID talks about his family and the way he grew up, as well as recounting a story where he and his siblings started a brawl in New Orleans. He compares the dysfunction in his family to a group of crackheads.

‘CAN’T PUNK ME,’ which features EarthGang, is one of my favorite songs on the album. Sonically, it has a somewhat similar theme to the song that precedes it. This track has a 90s-influenced beat with a bit of a Boom-Bap component, and a foreboding and sort of uncomfortable melody. JID raps with a rapid flow on this track and uses a lower vocal tone than usual. This is to contrast the higher vocal tones from the members of EarthGang, Both members of Earthgang also rap with a high-speed flow on this track, matching the intensity that JID provides. ‘CAN’T PUNK ME’ is a braggadocious track where JID and EarthGang talk about his far they have come and state that they have seen it all so it’s hard to mess with them. ‘Surround Sound,’ featuring 21 Savage and Baby Tate, was the first single released from this record. Many Hip Hop fans consider this to be one of the best songs of 2022. The instrumental takes a sample from Aretha Franklin’s ‘One Step Ahead’ and flips it in an unexpected way. In the first half of the song, the producer takes this bright and relaxing sample and makes it eerie and tough. The beat has a buzzing sound that is eerie and harsh, giving the song a creepy element. JID and 21 Savage complement each other so well on this track. Their flows and vocal styles go so well with each other. About halfway through the song, the instrumental switches, taking on a lighter sound that had an old-school Southern Trap quality. JID’s flow in this section of this song shows off how great he is. Songs like this are why so many people love him. This is a song where JID and friends talk about where they are from and how far they have gotten. ‘Kody Blu 31’ completely switches up the sound and style the album has had; it is way slower and softer than anything to this point. This one has an old-school R&B element to it; the track also has an old-school Gospel feeling. This is a complete departure from what one would expect from JID; it shows off a side of him we haven’t previously seen. One of the coolest things about this song is JID’s singing on this track. I didn’t know he could sing so well, and it brings out a side of him I hope he pursues more in the future as if diversified his sound so well. On ‘Kody Blu 31,’ JID is singing about his friend’s deceased son and how he has tried to help his friend through the pain. Following this, we get ‘Bruddanem’ with Lil Durk. This is a track that has also become a fan favorite. Similar to the song before it, this is a deliberate and more calm song than what is expected from JID. It has a melody that is mainly provided by a classic-sounding Jazzy R&B riff, and a retro beat that sounds like it’s from the 90s. ‘Bruddanem’ is the second track in a row where JID shows off some singing; he also mixes in some of his typical rap flows, providing a lot of texture to this song. I love Lil Durk’s contribution to this track, as it provides a lot of contrast to the vocal tone of JID. On this track, JID and Durk are showing love for their brothers. They are stating that they would do anything for those people they love.

‘Sistanem’ is a song that also takes on a retro R&B tone; it is a different kind of R&B than the kind on the song that precedes it, though. This track has a 90s Alternative and Contemporary R&B feeling to it. The instrumental on this one makes me think of artists like Erykah Badu and Jill Scott. JID’s low-key and laid-back way of rapping on the song goes with the instrumental very well. The chorus on this one is nice to listen to as well. with James Blake and Yuli harmonizing super satisfyingly. ‘Sistanem’ is an ode to JID’s sister. This song details their relationship from a kid until now, and JID explains why she is one of the most important people in his life. ‘Can’t Make U Change’ featuring Ari Lennox(whose new album I’ll be reviewing this week) is a song that continues with the classic Alternative R&B sound from the song that precedes it. This one has a sultry and sexy Funky riff and beat that has a Psychedelic feeling to it. As great as JID is, Ari Lennox is the star of this song. She sounds so awesome on this kind of Funk track, showing off how strong her voice is and how much range she has. Her powerful and large tone contrasts JID’s more laid-back nature. On ‘Can’t Make U Change,’ JID and Ari Lennox are talking about their love for a significant other while also discussing their own maturity. Following this, we get ‘Stars,’ which features Yasin Bey(aka Mos Def). This song again completely switches up the sound and feel of the previous few tracks. It is one of the most unique-sounding songs on the album in terms of production. The first half of the instrumental is tough to explain, as I have not heard many Hip Hop songs like this. The melody is driven by a flute with a colorful and classic sound; it honestly sounds like the kind of music in the background of movies like Snow White or Cinderella. This melody is complemented by humming background vocals as well as a buzzing bass line that contains a melody. JID raps in the first half of this song, and his voice is slightly altered to fit the weird energy of the instrumental. He uses one of his signature fast flows, and it fits the song well. The instrumental eventually completely switches up, taking on a 90s-style Alternative Hip Hop sound. It is very reminiscent of the music that Yasin Bey made himself back in the day. When the beat switches up, Yasin Bey comes onto the song and delivers an excellent verse. In this section of the track, he shows off why he is considered such a legendary Hip Hop artist. On ‘Stars,’ JID and Yasin talk about the path to becoming a star, and the struggles that come along with that dream. They discuss how some people in their lives will not understand this dream and how they will get judged and cast down for it. ‘Just In Time,’ which features Kenny Mason and Lil Wayne, is another track that has become one of my personal favorite songs on this record. Out of all the instrumentals on this album, I would say this is one of the tamest ones. It has a looping horn melody that is very triumphant and vibrant, and a pretty basic but hard-hitting Trap beat. It reminds me a lot of some of Rick Ross’s biggest hits back in the day. The non-sophistication of the beat makes the listener focus on the rap performances on the song, which is honestly a great thing. Both JID and Lil Wayne have excellent performances on this track which truly stand out. JID brings so much spirit and vigor to his portions of the song; his liveliness is so infectious. And, like he does so often, Lil Wayne shows why he is one of the greatest ever. His flow is awesome, and he drops great bar after bar as he usually does. This is a track where JID shows why he’s one of the best rappers of current and future times, and why Lil Wayne is one of the best rappers of past and current times. 

As this record does so often, the sound completely with the next song, ‘Money.’ This song has a bit of a Gospel Rap element to it. The song makes me think of some of the biggest tracks by artists like Chance the Rapper or DRAM. This song also has a funky and bright guitar riff that makes the song so fresh and fun. JID uses one of his most slow and deliberate flows in this song. On ‘Money,’ JID uses a bunch of metaphors and analogies to describe how he is trying to get money. ‘Better Days,’ featuring Jhonta Austin, is another sweet and calm song. I love how songs like this from JID, because they show a different side to him than most people would expect. Similar to a few earlier songs, it has a soft old school Contemporary R&B sound. The instrumental is so low-key yet powerful at the same time. The weird synths and beautiful vocals that make up the melody are so soothing. JID’s soft and sing-song delivery goes super well with this instrumental. On ‘Better Days,’ JID talks about how the fame and wealth he has acquired is not all it has been cracked up to be. He has realized he was probably happier back when he had less. The album closes out with ‘Lauder Too,’ which features Ravyn Lenae and Eryn Allen Kane. JID saved the most experimental and crazy-sounding song for last. The melody on the verses(if one could call it that) is driven by chime sounds that remind me of what it sounds like before a big storm out in the country. The song also has a deep, harsh, buzzing bass line that kind of has an industrial feel. The verses and the outro of this track have an almost heavenly, ethereal sound; the verses and outro really contrast the sound of the rest of the song. JID’s performance while rapping the verses on this song is very fierce and rugged. It goes with the instrumental super well. Lyrically, this track has a similar theme to the one that provides it. JID ends this album realizing that it doesn’t matter if you have all the money and fame in the world if you aren’t happy with the people around you. 

Due to the high level of praise JID’s received over the last couple of years for his sophisticated rapping style, his new album, The Forever Story, had lofty expectations. This record completely lives up to those expectations. JID shows a level of musical diversity in this record that we have not seen up until this point. He proves that there are many different sides to him as an artist and that he can pretty much do everything when it comes to the Hip Hop genre. One criticism I have seen of JID in the past is that sometimes his lyricism has been too complex to relate to. On The Forever Story, his lyricism is way more accessible and relatable than ever, letting the listener into his life in a way he has not done before while still keeping up his lyrical complexity. The Forever Story is JID’s best work to date, and it cements JID as one of the most talented and important artists making Hip Hop today.

BEST SONGS – RAYDAR, DANCE NOW FEAT. KENNY MASON, CRACK SANDWICH, CAN’T PUNK ME FEAT. EARTHGANG, SURROUND SOUND FEAT. 21 SAVAGE AND BABY TATE, KODY BLU 31, BRUDDANEM FEAT. LIL DURK, CAN’T MAKE YOU CHANGE FEAT ARI LENNOX, JUST IN TIME FEAT. LIL WAYNE AND KENNY MASON, BETTER DAYS FEAT. JHONTA AUSTIN

9.8/10

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