IDK Talks IWASVERYBAD, Growing Up an Immigrant in PG County, Trouble With the Law as a Youth, and Performs ‘Baby Scale’ Live In Studio

IDK grew up in PG County, Maryland, a sprawling suburb of Washington DC. It’s one of the most affluent predominantly black counties in America. He lived in a safe neighborhood. He was raised responsibly by hardworking African immigrants. They expected him to thrive in school and work ethic. Yet and still, he ended up as the first member of his family to go to jail and eventually prison. What could cause a seemingly good kid to end up entangled in the law? His new record IWASVERYBAD tries to unpack that question.

IDK’s technical ability and the scope of his vision are nearly unmatched in his generational peer group. His records are dense, concisely thought out, and often paint clear cinematic visuals with his descriptive lyrics. IWVB is no exception. The record has a cohesive “press play and let it ride” feel, with high production value and attention to detail. Songs pivot on a dime and topics are explored from many angles with a precision that might make his easiest comparison Kendrick. That’s a lofty statement, but there aren’t many others layering sounds and styles like IDK can.

I’ve interviewed IDK twice now (once for a written article and once for a podcast).  Neither was what I’d call ‘easy.’ He comes off quiet, doesn’t seem quick to trust anyone (or maybe it’s just me). Due to that you can tell he’s very  protective of his energy. You’ll hear me struggle to find a way in and get him to open up. I was curious why he was drawn to crime as a kid. As he tells it, it was more of a choice than a need for survival. I was curious about the relationship with his mother. He discusses it to devastatingly sad results on IWVB. I was also curious how he got so good at rap so quickly. Not sure how successful I was at getting him to open up about anything. Maybe that’s more telling than the answers.