IDK Crafts a Dance Record in His Own Image With KAYTRANADA-Produced 'Simple.'
Photo: Levi Berlin
IDK is no stranger to experimentation. From the emotionally-charged confessional album USEE4YOURSELF to the collaborative effort of IDK & FRIENDS :), the Maryland artist and rapper seems to explore a new facet of his artistry with each project. And in his latest tour de force Simple., IDK does not embark on this explorative journey alone, enlisting none other than Grammy award-winning producer KAYTRANADA.
Produced in full by KAYTRANADA, IDK surges forward through Simple. with an unshakeable bravado, all while touching on the endless hustle, drug abuse, and more. If 2021's USEE4YOURSELF was an exercise in healing through self-reflection, this is a much-deserved victory lap to the dancefloor that doesn't lose sight of the harsh realities present outside the club.
"There's a neighborhood in my city called 'Simple City.' It gets its name because you can get killed for any simple reason. Simple City is also the birthplace of Marvin Gaye. I wanted to tell the story of Simple City in a way that it's never been told before. From drug abuse to crime and murder, I wanted to cover what it feels like to be from Simple City and teach the world that the fix to helping disadvantaged Black communities isn't as simple as you think. The way people view our mentalities is a straightforward thing. There's a lot of depth and it should be handled with care. I wanted to create a project where people can 'dance to real shit,'" shares IDK.
And "dance to real shit" is at the heart and soul of Simple. Opening on a lucid trademark KAYTRANADA beat in "Drugstore," IDK finds his groove as he muses on the hustle of drug dealing. It's an infectious blend of iridescent sonics and hood politics that lights up every track, from the neon-lit dancefloor of "Slide" to the cutthroat world of the Denzel Curry-assisted "Dog Food." Even when the project detours into the part-interlude, part-skit "Southeast to Paris," the undercurrent of French disco juxtaposes an animated take on classism that comes full circle in the album's closer.
With Simple., IDK crafts a dance and rap record in his own image. It is a world of his own making but not one that exists outside reality; it is a mirror reflection of the artist and rapper's reality placed against a dance-inducing, kaleidoscopic backdrop.
Listen to Simple. Below: