JID Brings Something Special to the Table on ‘The Forever Story’ (REVIEW)

Tom Atkinson

By Tom Atkinson

Tom Atkinson

1 Sep 2022

Star Rating: 4.5/5

JID is a rising star in the U.S. Rap scene, hailing from Atlanta and signed to the fabled Dreamville Records. Following the success of his second album ‘DiCaprio 2’ and his features on ‘Revenge Of The Dreamers III,’ he’s gained a lot more attention and featured on tracks with the likes of Dua Lipa, Kid Cudi, and Doja Cat.

The Forever Story’ is a spiritual sequel to his debut album, ‘The Never Story,’ which he makes reference to on the album and follows JID dealing with his newfound fame, whilst reflecting on the poverty he and others experienced in his community. Alongside frequent collaborator, Christo, they have produced a top-notch record that may take JID to the next level. If you haven’t heard of JID before, you will after this album.

The thing that sticks out to you about Destin Route (JID) is his many flows, which can range from energetic to whispery or even a Texan accent-like flow on ‘Stars.’ He even brings multiple flows to a track like on ‘Raydar,’ where we get the energy, the whisper, and a slowed-down verse. His versatility is undeniable, and he even sings quite well on the project, showing his dedication to the craft.

But, while flow sounds good over a great beat, (which there is plenty of here) lyricism is the defining factor of the best of the best. Whether it be the witty wordplay of “With my .9, I’m like ten Avengers; Snap a finger, I could end adventures,” on ‘Raydar’ or the social commentary of “Dialect from slave, die tribe, they tryna dissect to re-digest; I tossed that mindset overboard like an object,” on ‘Sistanem,’ JID has bar’s for days. He can compete with the best of his generation. (and maybe even the older generations, as well)

The choice of features here is pretty great, showing the respect that Route has garnered from the industry. The likes of Lil Durk and Lil Wayne bring their A game, with Wayne, in particular, showing a hunger and energy we haven’t seen in a while. Johnta Austin and Ari Lennox are among the many talented vocalists, who bring the finishing touches to their respective tracks and at times harmonise well with our leading man. This is the case, with Lennox and JID on the chorus of ‘Can’t Make U Change.’

And let’s not forget that production, which Christo has done justice on, alongside his collaborators throughout the album. These two know each other inside and out at this point, so it’s no surprise the beats are perfect for JID’s experimental flows. The sample of Aretha Franklin’s ‘One Step Ahead’ is used well on ‘Surround Sound,’ showing the confidence to use a song from such an iconic artist.

Stand-out beats include the melancholic, horror boom-bap of ‘Crack Sandwich’ (produced alongside Nami, Cardiak, TBHits, and Groove) or the big band sound of ‘Money’ (produced by Khrysis), which easily could have been an instrumental for the Notorious B.I.G. With names like KAYTRANADA, James Blake, and Thundercat also attached to the project, you already knew this was going to sound sensational.

To pick favourite tracks from this album is what it must be like picking your favourite grandchild, but there are standouts on this fantastic record. We’ve already touched on ‘Crack Sandwich,’ but its commentary on the poor neighbourhoods JID grew up in is important to understand, as emphasised by the line “The irony when a n****’s starvin’, gotta grip the biscuit.” He highlights the importance of family during these trying times and his brilliance on the mic, giving early indications of the struggle he’s gone through to get to his current status quo.

Sistanem’ follows the already solid ‘Bruddanem,’ by focusing on Route’s relationship with his sister and the worries they have for one another, as time and events have seen them drift apart. His reflection on how fame has separated this once close nit family, leads to JID questioning the game and its many vices, including the prominent problem of misogyny, is powerful stuff. James Blake and Yuli sound great on the chorus, while the use of strings and orchestration is a nice touch. Truly a standout moment on a standout album.

The final highlight to touch on is ‘Stars,’ which BADBADNOTGOOD, Christo, and Eric Jones have to be credited for, due to their sensational production. You have to love how each instrument is added to the track to build up the momentum, starting with the sparkly, old-school sounds, then the wobbly synths; the woodwind; the staggered kickdrums, and finally the guitar on the chorus. JID here sounds top-notch over this beat, with many flows on offer as he recounts promising a partner he would make it during harder times. He then switches to the present day, highlighting the need for help for individuals in the industry. (maybe even directly referencing certain artists?)

There’s also a great sample of Erykah Badu during these verses, before the legendary Yasiin Bey (formally known as Mos Def) comes in and absolutely kills it. Man, this guy has bars upon bars, referencing how artists are used like slaves in the industry, (appropriate considering the sample of Ye’s ‘New Slaves’) with lines like “Your chain hangin’, bling swingin’, back breakin,” really highlighting this point. It may be the hardest feature we’ve seen all year.

This album does have a few flaws, with a references to Justin Timberlake and red riding hood feeling a little forced on ‘Can’t Make U Change,’ while Kenny Mason doesn’t blow me away with his features on the album. But, these are minor nit-picks on what is a top-class LP.

JID hits you like a punch to the face when he goes in and this happens time and time again on this project. He is by far one of the most talented MCs this generation has to offer, with diverse flows, on-point lyricism, and the confidence to show what he’s about. This is a man who has gone through pain and struggle, with a keen eye on what is wrong with the industry, and isn’t afraid to ruffle a few feathers. This will be something the hip-hop scene will be talking about for a while and hopefully will get JID the credit he deserves, and bring some attention to the issues he raps about.

JID is on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok