New Music Review - @JayIDK: #Subtrap

Now, usually, with reviews, I'd condense everything down to three hundred words. But, today? We've got something a bit different. Today, we've been blessed with some Subtrap as DMV native, alum, and all-around rocket-jetpack-possessing artist Jay-IDK drops his debut. Subtrap (suburban, but substance-driven trap music) is all about embracing the ignorance while still delivering knowledge, just as its founder's name suggests. So, without further ado.

The first track "Sexy Bartender Pt 1/Intro," compares hip-hop to that bartender at your favorite bar that you drop a couple stacks on and some game to make her feel like she's special--even if she's taking you for everything you own. You can't help but give it to her, since music is a drug. Halfway through the song, the vibe switches to a combination of Kanye's "Addition" and "For Free?" Kendrick Lamar. It's funky, it's jazzy. We're also introduced to the characters of the album: Jay (the main character of the album, also referring to Jay-IDK), King Trippy III, Jon Jon, and others.

Next up, we've got "Dirty Scale." I love the phone call effect presented on the chorus. I'm a sucker for that sort of thing. We're also taken on the process of Jay trying to scrounge up enough money from hustling to get into the studio and get those exclusive beats. But, of course, just selling green proves to be not as lucrative, so "God Said Trap." The first appearance of King Trippy III on the album is trippy and is more about the "I've gotta get more and more and more" feel that trapping sometimes carries along with it. It's a very radio-friendly track, with some substance. King Trippy III is, for me, a combination of The Cool from Lupe's earlier work (the entity which took Michael Young History under/made his wander aimlessly after death, searching for a purpose) and the m.A.A.d City of GKMC.

This is seen next in "The Plug."

I'm just gonna let this one burn, since there's so much you could say. But, until you get to "Thank Reagan" (told from the perspective of Jon Jon's brother) and "Thugs Prayer" (told from Jon Jon's perspective himself) you're kind of missing out on some parts. Speaking of that duo of tracks, "Thank Reagan" is a pretty chilling interlude. It's so matter of fact about the effect drugs, specifically crack cocaine, had on inner cities in the 1980s and beyond, just as it'd appear Reagan and others have been over the years.

"Thugs Prayer" is part-"Spaceship," part-"Migos Origin." And its feel is somewhat summed up in this quartet:
"I just missed my Obamacare/the next time to sign up is gonna be next year/But that ain't an option, cuz I need the dough to see the proper doctor/So, I'm kicking in yo' do', it ain't my fault. I'm Silkk da Shocker."
"The Feigns," spoken from the perspective of, well, two feigns, Matt and Ed, is haunting. It's sparse as hell. It's on a Dre-circa-early-2000s vibe. And that's beautiful. Jay is able to just paint the picture of these two feigns, who'd fuck fat midgets and suck dick to get their next fix. But, isn't that we're all after? Our next fix?

"We All Da Same" touches on that question. We're all addicted to something in some way. This is possibly my favorite track off the album, since it's different from the rest of the album. It's more spoken word than straight-up rap and question our motives/"pleasure sources," as to wonder "are they worth it?" This question features well into the rest of the album.

"The Bio Student" features a character named Chris speaking on the troubles of drug abuse, not being able to get by on a 9-5, and so on. By the end of the song, we see this character legitimately lose his mind, perhaps because of the drug abuse, and just say "fuck it." But, we're not done on our addiction path, since there's one more that we haven't touched on as much: sex.

"Cookie Addiction," told from the perspective of Jay and "her" (hip-hop/an actual woman) is a multi-layered track. It's a strip-down-and-fuck-me-while-we-smoke-some-weed track. But, it in some ways, showcases how the game (the "her") is starting to warm up to Jay after how he's been out here doing what he's been doing. But, even though he seems to be getting on in some ways, he's still being harrassed by Trippy and being pushed further down the trap side of things.

"I'm killing this game like I pulled out my shotty and bust at my Genesis," Jay raps on "Metro," a black out moment for the young artist. He's at his edge and he just goes in, eschewing the trap and suburban lifestyles, seeing both as traps and dream-extinguishing ends to a mean.

From here, we're taken to the last two tracks on the album, "Sexy Bartender Pt 2" and "Last Song." "Sexy Bartender Pt 2" completely derails the storyline we were given up to this point, pertaining to Jay and "her," since his advances are eventually seen as being for naught. So, like any other rapper fed up with the foolishness, he kills the game. However, it's his addiction. And because he hasn't been able to live without it, he uses the "same dagger" he used to kill the game like Marshall Mathers did to kill himself.

"Last Song" is a eulogy for the game he's just killed. Tossing truthful barbs at promoters, fairweather fans and others, Jay has another black out moment. He sums up his life story and his plight into one four minute, fifty-one second narrative. The instrumentation on this track is superb. Now, something I've failed to mention to this point is Jay's got an ear for beats. But, this song? It's the pick of the bunch.

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