J.I.D makes jittery rap for the mainstream and beyond | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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J.I.D makes jittery rap for the mainstream and beyond

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In the very crowded landscape of Atlanta rap, J.I.D is instantly recognizable. His stage moniker comes from a childhood nickname that was short for “jittery.” That word is also a good description of his flow—he races from word to word with a slightly nasal tone and profanely wiggy enthusiasm. His most recent album, DiCaprio 2 (Dreamville/Interscope/Spillage Village), finds a sweet spot between alternative and mainstream; it’s familiar enough to get radio play (it peaked at 41 on the Billboard 200) and quirky enough to hold critics’ attention, and his hooks are deployed artfully enough to avoid overstaying their welcome. The ballsy lead single “151 Rum” is built around an air-raid-siren chant and a multisyllabic chorus that makes singing along virtually impossible. On “Slick Talk,” J.I.D thanks his maker for allowing him to overcome adversity before twisting his tongue to rhyme “cicada” with “anus.” “Tiiied” has an emo R&B groove characteristic of the work of guest rapper 6lack, but J.I.D finds his way around it, rapidly delivering lines that balance smarm and snark: “I wanna share my popcorn wit’ you / ’Cause I won’t eat the whole thing / But you still got an issue.” Smart, inventive, and able to cater to commercial interests without letting them overwhelm him, J.I.D is a talent to watch.   v

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