Dreamville has quite a few talented artists under founder and head labelmate J.Cole sitting at the helm. Artists like EarthGang, Bas, and Ari Lennox certainly add depth to the roster, but the most exciting artist coming out of this group is JID. JID’s first album The Never Story came out in 2017 and caught waves in the rap community as a bold project. The rapper’s sophomore project was highly anticipated and DiCaprio 2 has delivered. On D2, JID raps over more complete and refined production with confidence and finesse.
JID’s sound choices are quite unique; often, he raps on beats that are equally chilling as they are in-your-face. D2’s soundscapes are dense, but still manage to fit JID’s “jittery” delivery. His non-stop style on D2 sounds like the hip-hop bridge between the modern, breakneck rap scene and traditional rap subcultures that current artists like Kendrick Lamar and Migos once crossed. It’s as if JID only needs one breath to get through two verses and a repetition of a chorus. To go with his rapping prowess, he has a gentle, yet raspy pitch to his voice that smooths out any of his tracks’ rough edges.
JID’s lyricism is profound and, perhaps, his strongest quality. D2‘s first single, “151 Rum”, connects the artist to his East Atlanta stomping grounds with emotionally-draining words. JID raps, “Standing next to Lil Tay when that bullet hit him/ Shit, I miss him, I wish that that bullet missed him but it didn’t.” Not only does JID provide a personal anecdote to create his storyline, he does so with effortless and textbook wordplay. The repetition and impeccable rhyming skills here can also be found on “Workin’ Out.” “On the road, and I ain’t coming back/ Until my hundred stacks make a hundred racks/ And that hundred racks bring a bundle back”, he raps. After using “at” twice, JID uses the rhyming words “back”, “stack”, and “rack” repeatedly with each word delivered purposefully, adding a unique cadence. His style seems to occupy a space that is snug between MF DOOM’s flow and A$AP Rocky’s wordplay.
DiCaprio 2 has production that is succinct, but that hones in chaotic inspiration from all over the map. “151 Rum” features has an unforgettable Indian sample that lends way to a throbbing bassline. Standout trap-inspired track ‘Skrawberries’ features a laidback delivery by JID and is coupled with BJ The Chicago Kid’s soul-inspired chorus. “Hot Box” – naturally a song about smoking – rides on a DJ Drama 90s beat that has its own cool, modern take. JID comes in with his insane flow, followed by Joey Badass providing a killer hook and a clever third verse, and legend Method Man chiming in with aggressive, yet smart lyricism.
Although most of DiCaprio 2 is forceful and full of adrenaline, some songs do miss on their marks. “Off Deez” and “Tiiied” have strong features but the songs are lackluster, especially when comparing it to the rest of the album. The A$AP Ferg-assisted “Westbrook” is another song that is good but not great; JID used his verse from his XXL freshman feature which made the song worthy but not particularly polarizing.
This album is one that was touted to push JID towards mainstream success. Even though his talent certainly warrants mass amounts of praise, DiCaprio 2 might not deliver on this potential. D2 is a great exercise in JID’s talent, but it is restricted; it seems more of a rap album than an album by a rapper. It is very good but it will only push JID’s name further in the rap community, not necessarily outside it. Saying that, DiCaprio 2 is a must listen because in a genre dominated by similar-sounding individuals, JID is not only different but much better than most of his peers.