DMV rapper Jay IDK’s been on our radar since 2015, when his debut album, SubTrap, introduced us to his unique style of Ignorantly Delivering Knowledge (no, the acronym in his name doesn’t just stand for “I Don’t Know”). He’s been busy ever since, delivering another album last September, but despite a steady flow of consistently thrilling music, Jay seems to be on a new level in 2017.
Last month, he announced a partnership with Adult Swim to produce visual content for his upcoming third album. This news coincided with the release of new single “OMW,” co-produced by Chance The Rapper affiliate Nate Fox, mixed by Young Thug engineer Alex Tumay, and mastered by G.O.O.D. Music’s Mike Dean. With a pedigree like that, it’s no wonder the track has racked up close to two million plays on Soundcloud in just 20 days.
Between visiting Russia and inciting mosh pits at Rolling Loud, Jay found some time to construct a playlist for us and phone in for a bonus interview. Read on (while you listen of course!) to learn more about the guy who makes music “for the people that appreciate music from Frank Ocean all the way to Chief Keef.”
MERRY JANE: What is your most memorable smoking experience?
JAY IDK: My first time smoking was my most memorable one because it was the first day of school when I was 15 or 16. I had smoked before but I never got high, so I was like, ‘Yo, I don’t think I can get high.’ So I smoked again and I didn’t feel nothing until the bus pulled up. As soon as I stepped on it, it just hit me and I was like, ‘Yo, what the hell? What is this feeling?’ And then I started getting scared like, ‘Yo, what if I go to school and they know I’m high?’ I got super paranoid but I couldn’t control myself at the same time, I was just making fun of everybody on the bus, people I didn’t even know and stuff, that kind of thing. Then when I got to school, I started wylin’ out, dancing in the middle of the gym and shit. It was crazy, man.
If you were a boxer, what song would you come out to?
You know what, I was actually just thinking about that shit. I would come out to “Dark Fantasy” by Kanye West. That’s a boxer’s song.
If you were going to go out guns blazing, what song would you choose to do it to?
Who is your guilty pleasure artist?
I don’t really have no guilty pleasures, I like what I like. But an artist that I really like that a lot of people probably don’t know is Cibo Matto. Dude they’re so weird, but I like them. I reached out to them for a sample, but they never hit me back.
What song most reminds you of your childhood?
“You Are Not Alone” by Michael Jackson. Actually you know what, “I Want it That Way” by the Backstreet Boys, because when I was a kid, I went to this engagement party, and they gave me a mic and I sang that joint in front of everybody. I just found out that there’s actually video footage of that. I’m trying to get that, so it might come out one of these days.
Which song that you've released means the most to you?
Who has been your favorite artist to work with? What is your dream collaboration?
My favorite artist to work with to date… I’m going to have to think hard on that one. Probably Mike Dean so far. Just the way he breaks things down, he’s really dope. And then my dream collab is Gorillaz.
The DMV’s been seeing more and more artists blow up, but too often people try to group them all together. What would you say is the biggest misconception about the area you’re from and its music scene?
People don’t really understand how much diversity there is where I’m from. There’s so many different types of styles, but the [artists] who get signed are coming with one particular style, you know what I mean? So I think people need to understand that we have one of the most different neighborhood structures because [Prince George’s County] is the richest black county in America, but one of the worst in the DMV area and Maryland, period. It’s an area where you could live in a big house and people get shot in your neighborhood. It’s the weirdest, weirdest thing, man. And people don’t even know about that side of things, but it’s something I touch on in my newest music.
You’ve recently been hinting at some new music. Without giving away too much, what can you tell us about your upcoming material?
It’s gonna be more about my life, about what makes me who I am, as opposed to my other projects being kind of what I’m going through at a particular time.
You recently traveled to Russia. How was that?
Yeah, it was cool. Nah, not really, it wasn’t that cool actually. It was very racist in Russia. Super, super racist. I was only there for like 12 hours but I got to meet a couple of people. I would try to get certain things, buy food, talk with somebody to buy something, or whatever, and they would either completely ignore me, or shake their head, or not talk to me. And then when I was leaving, some guy said, ‘Yeah, you’re pretty bold for coming here, being that color.’ And it wasn’t in a disrespectful way at all, he was just letting me know like, ‘Yo, they don’t like you guys here.’ It was wild.