What’s Your Addiction? – Exploring the Characters in @Jay_IDK’s Subtrap

This is a throwback piece that I wrote some time ago regarding Jay IDK's 2015 release Subtrap. It has never seen the light of day--until now.

It’s been said that everyone has their vices in life. Even the seemingly harmless ones, if obsessed about enough, can turn into an enveloping lifestyle. In Jay IDK’s Subtrap, out now, he explores several of these addictions. However, instead of just laying them out there, Jay uses personas throughout the project. He’s even gone the extra step of, with his #HXLYTriBE team, creating social media accounts for each character to tweet out additional information from each perspective. Combined, this ultimately shapes and presents a central theme of the project: no one addiction is “better” than another, suburban or otherwise.

First, we have Jay himself. An up-and-coming artist, Jay, to gather money for his production fees, mixes, and so on, goes out and begins to dabble in trapping. On songs such as “God Said Trap,” his alter ego/”devil on his shoulder,” King Trippy III, tells him that selling drugs is the only way to go. Either you trap or you get trapped.

Additionally, he becomes almost enamored with the idea of pleasing “Her,” a representation of hip-hop music, sex addiction, and of the stereotypical fame-chasing woman. In “Sexy Bartender Pt. 1” and “Cookie Addiction,” “She” and Jay engage in sexually-charged banter which ultimately, as with lyrical representations of “Kim and Em,” ends with a murder-suicide on “Sexy Bartender Pt. 2.” In other words, through this plight to be accepted by “The Game,” Jay realizes that he must kill the game. And by killing the game he’s become so enamored and so intertwined with, he ends up having to kill part of himself.

King Trippy III, part parody, part manifestation of Jay’s past, also manages to, through the grace of Roland Reagan, weasel his way into the life of Jon Jon, an up-and-coming dealer. In a story which plays out similar to Jay’s addiction to music and wanting to put out the best product, Jon Jon wants to get money so he can help his family and get them out of the hood. This destructive cycle ultimately engulfs two feigns, Matt and Ed, who’ll perform sexual acts upon midgets to get their next fix.

And, then we have Chris. While Chris appears on only one song, “The Bio Student,” he through those three-plus minutes, becomes one of the most interesting characters in the album. His plight begins normally. He’s just a guy in college who smokes weed to relax himself. It’s simple and mostly relatable. But, eventually, as he comes down, he craves a bigger high to help him study, elevate past the simple 9-to-5 mentality, and release the stress. By the end of the song, he’s dabbled with more than just weed, still craves that bigger high, and has become a biology experiment in some ways. He’s less of the ambitious student and, essentially, a middle-upper-class version of Matt and Ed.

Perhaps Jay’s right in saying “We All Da Same.” Whether it be fame, fortune, sex, drugs, alcohol, or whatever, we all have a vice. And sometimes, whether we want them to or not, they take control. So, how do we get out of these traps and/or subtraps? Jay doesn’t force feed us an answer through this project, instead opting to show the “what” and “why” of each person’s trappings. And, for that, he must be commended, since it allows for open-ended interpretation, potentially sparking conversation about addition.

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