IDK struggles with God and the afterlife in his new album release

by Johann Derek Oribello, Senior Staff Writer

Washington D.C. rapper IDK is turning heads with the release of his major-label debut album, “Is He Real?” as he tackles heavy themes such as the existence of a God and the afterlife. 

This project includes several eye-catching features from high-caliber artists such as Tyler, the Creator, J.I.D. and Pusha T. Nevertheless, IDK manages to stand out and hold his ground against his contemporaries in this jam-packed album of 14 tracks that runs just over 35 minutes. 

Throughout the album, IDK ponders the presence of a higher being in a world filled with crime, sin and mindless violence. The album title itself is a reference to this age-old question. 

IDK reveals in a Reddit Ask Me Anything thread that the inspiration behind the title of his album.

“‘Is He Real?’ is a play off of words for Israel,” he said “Israel means ‘To Wrestle with God’ (so) this whole album is me wrestling with God and no clear answer.” 

The first song, “Cloud Blu” opens up the album with a skit between the rapper and a child discussing what happens after someone dies. It starts off with a typical childlike view of the afterlife filled with the sounds of paradise as birds chirp in the background, accompanied by beautiful gospel hums that exude a sense of entering Heaven. This atmosphere takes a twist and is cut short as the background sounds and the child’s voice becomes distorted as he proclaims, “When it’s finally your turn / You wake up from your dream because God isn’t fing real,” 

Onwards the album delves into IDK’s personal conflict with God as his faith waivers over the situations he experiences on a daily basis where robberies, drive-by-shootings and death are as common as brushing your teeth before going to school.

The song “42 Hundred Choices” highlights this struggle as IDK opens up his verse with the line, “I’m from a place where they pull up on you with a draco and bang-bang-bang/ No one warns you, ain’t no time for no play-play-play.”

The song’s instrumental features a hard-hitting bass that keeps the song together as the hi-hats rattle on with IDK’s frantic energy and flow.

A highlight of this album is the seamless transition from song to song that meshes the tracks together and maintains cohesion throughout the project. Because the album has 14 tracks total with a runtime of only 35 minutes, the smooth transitions mask the short song lengths. 

A standout song from the album is the song “Porno” with surprise features from rappers J.I.D.   and Pusha T. The artists’ verses indulge in the lavish excesses that are common in a rapper’s world such as the endless access to fast cars and beautiful models and is accompanied with an infectious hook from IDK. To hear the two guest artists rap was a pleasant surprise considering their names weren’t listed in the tracklist. Nevertheless their features are not only welcomed, but appreciated since their names helped elevate the project to a higher status.  

Despite the album dropping on the same week of some bigger and more established hip-hop artists such as Post Malone and EarthGang, IDK’s “Is He Real?” stands its ground and further propels the D.C. rapper in his rise to stardom. In other words, this project proves that IDK is “up next” in the rap game.

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