IDK – Simple: Review

Radiant and vibrant production with fun but complex lyricism; this is the simplest way to describe Simple, the new album by rapper IDK. At 20 minutes, it feels like a breeze, despite each track being an onslaught of depth that is neither over nor undercooked. The marvel backing this is the production, which gets guided by lively and mystifying percussion beats that keep you in a tangential groove. All of this benefits the conceptual-driven album, as it juxtaposes the title by delivering tracks that speak from different aspects of IDK while staying socially consistent. Unfortunately, as excellent as the album is in concept, it feels shortsighted for not expanding a bit more. It’s a perfect loop that keeps you in rhythm, even if its abrupt pace makes you think internally, “that’s it?”

Wholeheartedly, Simple is a near-perfect vibe album that runs short. So when it perfectly loops, you might find it a bit tiring after a few spins as you get reminded that, interludes aside, you’re getting six new tracks. But each of these tracks has great lyrical and vocal consistency, as IDK and his features chime with varying flows that fit the mellow beachy-island, world influence in the percussion and synths. The production from Kaytranada spreads wide, bringing along with his luminous style to back-backends, where the rhythm shines as you find your two feet dancing and your body shaking. That’s part of the immediate strengths of Simple.

Simple sets its tone with “Drugstore,” bringing to life funky vibes which meld with the lyrical content, continuing to blend different styles in a tangential wave of greatness. It is ever-shifting between tracks, ranging with a myriad of topics delivered eloquently through seamless transitions. One minute, IDK is singing about catching his breath as he relishes in his successes humbly on “Breath;” another, he is rapping and bringing the guns, delivering violent bars as he claims his status amongst others without being afraid of the beef on “Taco.” It’s a reaffirmation driven to counteract IDK’s more jovial raps, like “Drugstore” and “Zaza Tree.” They brighten the melodies, acting as meditations for IDK before he shifts to a bleaker zone like “Dog Food.” It allows him to deliver a mental balance with the unique flips.

“Dog Food” is a standout on Simple, though no shock, as the last time IDK and Denzel Curry dropped a track together, their verses were out of this world. That is similarly the case on the best track on the album. This time, we hear both rappers express dismay with the police activity and systematic racism in their communities over a paradoxical jubilance in the production. Later down the album, IDK and rapper Mike Dimes counteract their slight vulnerable states when faced with danger by rapping about being ready and strapped. However, it’s a two-pronged attack of musical bliss; first, it hits you with the incredibly attractive production, then with the various elements IDK brings with a flurry of styles. “Breathe” and “Zaza Tree” takes a tender approach; the former has IDK singing with smooth bravado that you feel like you’re sippin’ on some liquor at a cabana club, while the latter sees IDK giving us a chill stoner track.

Unfortunately, if Simple doesn’t immediately go on repeat in your streaming platform, then you might feel like IDK could have added a little more. The length hinders how long it can stay on loop before it starts melding into one and it’s one cohesive groove. It works better when played on a loop instead of one spin. But it’s a definite listen that I recommend, especially for the vibes. It’s an album I wish I got a little more with, despite hitting notes smoothly.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

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