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Album Review: JID "The Forever Story"

Spitting hard and fast as per, JID uses the full range of his singer rapper skills with tones reminiscent of Kendrick Lamar and charisma worthy of old school M.Cs such as Skeelo.

by Oscar Ross, Music Editor

Flaunting an unbelievable roster of feature artists and guest producers, The Forever Story acts as a mirror to JID's debut album The Never Story. While The Never Story showed us the potential JID's versatile voice and style, spitting old school flows over a range of new age and classic hip hop beats, The Forever Story is a confirmation of the promise made in the Never Story back in 2017.

Being signed to J.Cole's Dreamville label, JID's albums have never suffered from a lack of solid feature artists. However, JID's new album rifles deep into the Dreamville roster as well as outside of the label, with features ranging from the smooth and soulful Ari Lennox to hardcore rappers 21 Savage and Lil Wayne. The Forever Story also attracted producers and writers from all corners of the music industry, the album's credits are stacked with names such as James Blake, Quincy Jones, KATYRNADA and BADBADNOTGOOD.

However do not be distracted, this is not a D.J Khaled album, copping out of actually making music by relying on its' feature roster. The Forever Story is JID through and through. JID reminds the music industry that even though he can be heard featuring on albums of any genre, wether it's the Free Nationals, Joey Bada$$ James Blake or Doja Cat, he is most definitely a just feature artist. Spitting hard and fast as per, JID uses the full range of his singer rapper skills with tones reminiscent of Kendrick Lamar and charisma worthy of old school M.Cs such as Skeelo.

Then again these comparisons fall short of JID's individualistic sound. While new age hip-hop haters complain about many rappers' over use of auto tune, repetitive beats and tone deaf deliveries, The Forever Story sees JID flip all these stereotypes on their head from start to finish. For example, instead of in your face autotune, which does admittedly come with the appearance of  Lil Durk on “Bruddanem”, JID morphs his signature raw vocals with sliding pitch shifters providing further range to his already swiss army knife-like vocals. In terms of beats, as proven earlier this year with the release of the single “Surround Sound” featuring 21 Savage and Baby Tate, JID is capable of holding his own over an iconic sample, with the song flipping “One Step” by Aretha Franklyn, already famously used by Mos Def in “Ms. Fat Booty” back in 1999.

The style of the album ranges from hard core rap to more classic hip-hop as well as plenty of alternative rap and r&b tunes. This wide selection of styles is not unsusual for JID, an artist who's discography is scattered with all the different uses of rap. However, The Forever Story does lean further towards the alternative scene than previous albums have, compensating for their lighter touch with concentrated hard and heavy songs such as “Raydar”, “Bruddanem” feat. Lil Durk and “Just in Time” feat. Lil Wayne and Kenny Mason. If your'e looking for classic JID tunes, tracks 3 to 6 are a straight run of cocky, 808 driven bangers, showing JID firmly planted in the Dreamville, Spillage Village sound. The most exciting tracks come in the second half of the album, with JID leaning on his singing skills in the heartfelt and swaying “Kody Blu 31” and the dark, experimental “Stars” feat. Yasmin Bey showing us again why everyone should listen to BADBADNOTGOOD tracks. The most alternative JID goes is on upbeat bop “Money”, using chopped child vocals to create a far brighter sound than surrounding tracks on thje album.

To be perfectly honest, The Forever Story's closing track, “Lauder Too” feat. Ravyn Lenae and Eryn Allen Kane, is hard to explain. Courtesy of guest producer James Blake, you get a minute of JID spitting intricate bars over a driving Tron: Legacy sounding beat, then a quick break for some of Blake's classic, atmospheric and multi-layered vocals, after which you're dropped straight back where you left off, with JID going even harder on his second verse, finishing off with a minute more of swirling vocals. Don't get it twisted though, this is the perfect closing track, these stylistic gear changes encapsulate what makes JID such an interesting artist.

Overall, The Forever Story is a good album, and nowadays that is not something I find myself saying a lot. Obviously it has it's weaknesses, with the Lil Durk and Lil Wayne features playing into the hands of hip-hop critics and satisfying hype chasing supporters. However, as a JID album, or just a music project in general, The Forever Story loves up to the hype.

Listen to The Forever Story here:

Featured Image: Naskademini

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