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JID and His Forever Story

The Atlanta rapper speaks on his third studio album The Forever Story, drawing from nostalgia and making an impact on his family legacy.

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A formidable force and cornerstone artist in US Hip-Hop, singer, songwriter, and rapper, JID has been high on the list of many for his standout lyrical creativity and versatile sounds. Keeping busy over the last few years, you may have seen JID feature collaborate with artists like Amine, Doja Cat, ASAP Ferg and of course, his Dreamville label mates. However, JID fans have been patiently awaiting his follow-up to 2018’s Dicaprio 2 album, which finally came in August. His latest album The Forever Story, explores a deeper, more introspective side to the Atlanta artist’s personal life over 15 new tracks.

The Forever Story sits as a continuum of JID’s debut album The Never Story, which was released back in 2017. The autobiographical nature of the album, transports listeners into the crux of JID’s familial dynamics and explores both the outward and inward complexities attached to growing up as one of seven. Having spent years working on his career, JID transparently discusses the complex nature of his fame impacting on his family, and the ramifications inflicted on those bonds. Each track offers its own evocative lyricism and captures the Dreamville artist’s transcendent bars and iridescent singing abilities.

Although he makes it sound impressive, taking a trip down memory lane isn’t always easy. So, when we had the chance to sit down with JID post album release, we spoke about some of the hesitations he felt towards including personal subject matter in his craft. We also touched on his working relationship with a singing coach and his connection hip hop legend and album feature, Yasiin Bey.

Congratulations on your latest album, The Forever Story. The rollout for this project was really intricately organized. Why was it symbolic for you to bring back the Pontiac and make that the space where fans were able to revel in your new music?
It felt super organic to the whole brand that I have, and I just think all of my fans know that moment and know what that means for me. So, everything that we did around it was tryna bring back the nostalgia from The Never Story. This album is essentially the recreation or like the sequel to that project. We are just tryna make the best experience for the fans that’s been around since that moment.

So, we know this album is heavily grounded in the stories of your upbringing and the relationships you have with your family. Some of the stories you tell include very vulnerable information about your life – did you ever feel nervous about releasing something so personal and specific to you and your family?
Yeah definitely, there was definitely a lot of fears involved with it and like getting over certain things. So, I was definitely sensitive to each subject and tried to handle it with care but at the same time, I felt like I had to keep it real and I think I found that medium.

Did you include your family throughout the creation of the project or was this something you felt you had to do on your own?
Yeah, not really in the beginning process of all of it but I’m sure at this point they’ve heard it and they understand what the album is based on. Cause they been around and you know, I had to include them.

We’ve heard you sing on several tracks previously and I read in one of your other interviews that you got a vocal coach in to perfect your melodies in Kody Blu 31.
Yeah, I actually just got a singing coach for life; it wasn’t even just for that song. It was more just for me to bring more sounds and be closer to the music and just be more of an artist. I just wanted to be able to sing, you know. I’ve always been able to hold a note so to be able to at least hold a better note is progress. I’m not like Jennifer Hudson or Adele or Beyonce. I’m just doing what I can. I feel like it wasn’t a bad attempt at it and I think I can get better at it.

You also just dropped a music video for the track which is set at your newly purchased piece of land, once belonging to your grandparents. How did it feel to be able to claim a piece of your family’s history?
It was amazing, I feel proud as hell to be able to do that for my family and just connect those dots. Like the way I grew up on that land, it was a bunch of my cousins and stuff like that. Always gathering for whatever holiday or whatever family gathering and that was just super important to me to be able to have that for my kids. Also for my family to just be able to share those moments and not let that die with the land being sold off and us not being in control of it.

Sonically, what sounds were inspiring you throughout the creation of this project?
Just like soulful stuff, I was into a lot of soul music that was going on. Just trying to bring my Southern drawl out, you know what I’m saying. Just make it feel like the South, make it feel like where I’m from, make it feel like the moments and the smells, and the fears and like all of that stuff that came with the music.

You have some stellar features on the album, but I want to talk about Yasiin Bey aka Mos Def. How was it to have such an OG, Hip-Hop legend jump on one of your tracks and what sparked the relationship?
I’ve always been a fan of his and for the most part, it was just me tapping in after a certain interview I saw. He mentioned me and said that I’m one of the newer guys he was listening to, which was maybe 3 or 4 years ago. That moment, I was like ohhh I gotta tap in—like he’s really the OG and he fuck with me. So, I just reached out and he reached back and when we got a chance to just speak, it was just super dope you know what I’m saying? It was just cool tapping in with somebody that’s a legend and just showing that mutual respect. When I initially sent the music to him – he liked it and he was super appreciative and it was just love. It was a great moment for me and I’m still accepting and taking it all in at this moment.

Are there any other OGs you’re hoping to tap in with next?
Hmm maybe JAY-Z or like Kendrick or Drake. The cool guys you know, that’d be tight. I’d just say those for now.

The Forever Story came nearly 4 years after Dicaprio 2. What can we expect next from JID? 
More music will be coming out – more albums and projects and just ideas and bodies of work. The process was just way different for me on this album because I was trying to aim for something, but I got it figured out now so I think we can expect a lot more music and just quality over quantity. You know the world shut down; I blame COVID.

Speaking of things to come – you have such a strong fan base here in Australia. Is touring AUS on the cards for this album?
100%, I definitely have plans to and I love it there so yes!

Follow JID here for more and stream his new album The Forever Story here.

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