IDK Talks His Upcoming Project, Finding Balance, And Breaking Into Fashion
IDK, formally known as Jay IDK, is gearing up to drop his project, IWASVERYBAD, premiering October 12 on Adult Swim. From embarking on new fashion endeavors to directing the visual album, IDK is ready to do it all—and isn’t planning on stopping anytime soon.
Read our interview down below with IDK where he talks letting people in through music, standing out from other artists, and more.
Tell me about your new track, “Baby Scale.”
I made it a few months ago, and when I made it, it was straight out of anger and emotion. I just wanted to let something out on a song and that was the song I chose to do it in. I think I recorded it the same day. I remember when I was recording it, people were trying to come in the room and I was so mad, I wouldn’t let anybody in. Nobody was allowed to come in. I was just screaming at people and shit, telling them to leave. It’s basically about balance. Outside of the emotion, it’s about me being able to rap over two different styles of rap. I get some love from people who consider Soundcloud rap the kind of music that they love. I also get love from people who like lyrics. It’s about the duality.
I know you’re partnered with Adult Swim. How did that come about?
It was an idea that I had when I was dropping music. I do think that I have singles on this project, but it’s not single-based or about singles, it’s about my whole album and my story. I was like yo, I want to tell a story but I want to tell it on TV and drop my music in a different way. With the way music has been changing and being so single-focused, I needed to find a new way to stand out. I thought Adult Swim was the perfect way to put out music.
What was the idea behind the visual episodes that accompany the album?
It was just something I thought of on tour. As I started developing the idea, I just started thinking of more and more things, more and more ways to amplify it. Calling my songs episodes instead of songs, just different ways. Then, as the episodes came, I was like: might as well make some visuals and stuff. That’s how that came about. We shot some really crazy things, we made a movie.
So when all the episodes are put together, it’s gonna be a consistent storyline?
Yeah, exactly. That’s how my music is.
What was the creative process like from concept to final product for each of the episodes?
I wrote the treatment and then a friend of mine, Jamie Sanchez, came and went over the treatment with me and we added more ideas to that. Then, we did the shot list and we started figuring out which DPs we wanted to use, we did a storyboard, and we put all of that together.
So you were very involved?
Yeah, I definitely directed but it was also with the help of Jamie Sanchez and our homie Beef. We all came together and produced and directed it. But, it started with my vision.
What’s the inspiration behind the album and the visual components?
It’s pretty much my life. I’m gonna tell people about what makes me me for the first time. I haven’t really done that. Usually, with my albums, I’m telling people what I’m going through at a certain or particular moment in my life, but I’ve never told anybody what led up to that. This one is the first time I’m going into that and I want to be a little more open about the personal things that have happened in my life—things with my mother, and all of that. This is going to be one of my most personal projects.
Is that scary?
No, not at all. I’m excited. I’m not scared of telling people how I feel when it’s through my music. In real life, it’s different. I don’t know if I could tell everybody everything in real life, but when it’s through my music I just forget about everything and just let it out and let the world judge.
What’s the visual style like?
The style is hard to say. It’s something innovative, I’ve got a really cool idea. I want to let people see it when it comes out, but the way I put it together and the way it comes out, the way I tell the story—it’s gonna be a little bit different. It’s a bit cinematic, but it’s also forward-thinking and it’s got some weird elements to it. At the end of the day, I did want this cinematic, dope movie looking thing, but it gotta be weird ‘cause I like the weird shit. It can’t be straight-forward. The way we edit it, the way we put things together, some of those things gotta be weird. Adult Swim does a lot of weird stuff anyways. It just made sense to go that way.
What track are you most excited for people to hear or see?
Probably the last one, but it’s hard to say. There’s a lot. I like all of them, #2, #3. #3 is great if you’re a Gorillaz fan—I’ve got some cool people on there. It’s different. When you see the tracklist and see who’s featured on there, you’re like, “how is this gonna work?” Then when you see and hear it you’re gonna see exactly how it works.
You’ve already gained a lot of attention from your other music. Is there a different message in this album that you want people to know?
Mostly, just who I am. People don’t really put together albums like this anymore. This is gonna be a journey, and you’re gonna really be in my shoes. I want people to get that and understand that. This is true. What I’m talking about in this album, it’s real. It’s not some fabricated story.
Do you think people need to listen to it chronologically to understand?
No. It helps, but it’s not in an order where you have to know this happened to understand why I’m talking about this. It’s not put together that way. Each song is its own episode. It’s like watching Black Mirror, but it’s even more cohesive than that. It’s the same character each time, but it’s not necessarily that you need to listen to previous tracks to understand the others.
“I want to tell a story but I want to tell it on TV and drop my music in a different way. With the way music has been changing and being so single-focused, I needed to find a new way to stand out.”
So to kind of change directions, is fashion something you’re interested in?
Yeah definitely! I know a lot of people who wear Supreme right now. But I just wanna make it clear that I’ve been doing this since high school. I’ve been on Supreme super heavy. I’m always gonna wear it, I’m always gonna fuck with it, you feel me? It will always have a special place in my heart.
I’ve been getting into the fitted hats. Where I’m from, not a lot of people wear fitted hats anymore. It’s like an old thing. But for me this What is iconic. I remember Wale was one of the first artists to wear this. This is like our hometown’s hat.
Is fashion something you want to work in one day?
Definitely. Actually, I’m working on some really cool shit that’s about to come out, but I can’t talk yet because I gotta sign shit first *laughs*. But we’re working on something super cool people wouldn’t expect.
Do you still wanna stay in streetwear?
I’m not necessarily restricted to streetwear. My whole thing is contrast and putting two things together that don’t necessarily make sense. That’s everything that I do. I actually went to Grammy’s in 2016, and I wore a tuxedo with a leather baseball hat. It looked cool, it felt cool. I even had some Saint Laurent shoes. You’re not supposed to wear a hat with a tuxedo, but that’s just me.
It just looks good.
Yeah yeah, I like that a lot. I always wear a hat. That’s one of the main reasons why I dyed my hair. I wanted it to look cool poking out from the side. That’s just my personal style.
“I want to be very involved in every aspect of my career. From visuals, to cover art, and even legal shit. I don’t think there’s any new artist that’s as involved as I am.”
So a lot of musicians are getting into fashion, do you think that’s something that you’d be interested in?
Music is always gonna be first, that’s my first love. Back In middle school, I was a nerd. I wasn’t that cool because, well, I wasn’t that cool *laughs* but I was getting into fashion. Art has always been the reason why I started to get cool. I remember in elementary school, I didn’t get cool until I started drawing. Everybody wanted me to start drawing pictures and I started getting cool. Same thing happened in high school. I wasn’t really that known until I started wearing certain things and dressing outside the box. That made me stand out and had a lot of people liking me and messing with me. That’s just how it is. Fashion is just something that I’ve always been into. I’m good at predicting trends too.
Oh yeah? What do you think is coming next?
I said SB’s were gonna come back. Then two weeks later Ian Connor posted them. I predicted the tanned styled army boots. I predicted that before everybody started wearing them. My next prediction is that people are gonna start wearing the fitted and trucker hats again. My last interview had that the dad hat thing is kind of dead. But that’s for dudes, women could still probably rock it. The next thing is probably gonna be truckers.
Would you make your own hat line?
I’m working on that too! I’m tryna tell you, I’m tryna work at all the angles.
So you’re trying to do everything?
I’m trying to do everything. Shoes, hats, clothes, everything! People would argue that it’s too early in my career to be doing this.
Exactly and I have a vision. People believe in my vision and are supporting me in getting things done. Whereas, some people are just saying shit.
When is everything is gonna be coming out?
Everything thing going to be spread between this year and next year. But I want it to be staggered and not all at once.
That’s smart. Very strategic. You’re not just pushing stuff out because you want it out.
Yeah, I want to be very involved in every aspect of my career. From visuals, to cover art, and even legal shit. I don’t think there’s any new artist that’s as involved as I am.
Stay tuned to Milk for more from IDK.