An Interview with IDK

Words and Photography by Karan Teli

In the 1990’s and early 2000’s, if you were described as a ‘rapper’ we knew what music you were making. In 2019, when someone is described as a rapper, that doesn’t even begin to explain the kind of music they might create. Nas, Chief Keef, Kid Cudi and Lil Peep would all be described as ‘rappers’ – but those are 4 completely different styles of music.

Which leads me on to IDK. His debut studio album IWasVeryBad, which includes hit 17 With Tha 38, in comparison to his latest project ‘IDK and Friends’ are also two very different styles of music from the rapper. IDK and Friends is a much more light-hearted, fun-filled, feature stacked project, while IWasVeryBad is clearly a well-thought about, constructed body of work. ‘If I didn’t put this project out now, it never would have come out. The things I’m working on now are way deeper, so I wouldn’t want to drop this after letting my fans hear that.’

IDK made it very clear that his influences, along with his own passions and ideas made it easy for him to prefer the conceptual, deep-rooted music rather than the carefree style on his latest project. ‘Listening to Eminem, 50 Cent and people like that laid the foundation of how I make my albums. I’ve always liked telling stories, so I just apply the same principle to my music.’

IDK was in London in support of Denzel Curry’s sold out headline show at KOKO. Although IDK was born in London, it is a far cry from PG County, in Washington D.C, where he grew up. ‘It’s totally different. The landscape, the style of the buildings, the vibe of the city, everything. Also, the sun is never out here.’

Being from DC, do you support the Wizards?

I guess so. Since I started making music, that’s all my mind had been on. I don’t really focus on the other things.

As a musician in today’s world, how important is Instagram to you?

I hate it, but it’s very important. It’s a direct musician to consumer platform. But I hate having to keep up with it. Sometimes I wont be in the mood to post, but I’ll have too. But when I get bigger, I’ll be on it less and less. The music will speak for me.

Being the opening act at a concert is not always smooth sailing. You have to engage and provide a good experience to a crowd that may not necessarily be there to see you. But with IDK, he didn’t fluster or worry about that. ‘You have to be confident with your art, and they’ll gravitate towards that. It’s a simple thing, but it’s hard for most people.’

How do you think the crowd in London will compare to the rest of the tour?

I don’t know man. I hear mixed things about London. I’m not worried though. But Amsterdam and Berlin have been the best cities so far.

What song goes off the most?

It’s always changing. Right now, I know my biggest song is No Wave. But when I drop a new song, it becomes that.

Have you set yourself a resolution for the New Year? Anything in particular you want to accomplish?

I want to put myself in a good situation where others can speak for me. I want to be in your face and honest, and of course, make sure my music advances.

Keep your eyes on IDK, who believes greatness is in store for him in 2019!


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