On July 9th, Maryland rapper IDK released his second studio album, USEE4YOURSELF. Being two years since his very promising debut record, Is He Real?, many fans, including myself, are expecting the 29-year-old MC to take the next step forward here. With features from big names like Young Thug, The Neptunes, MF DOOM, and Slick Rick, can IDK add a classic album to his belt?
While IDK definitely brings heart and passion to each of the project’s 17 tracks, he fails to do anything remotely captivating due to his inability to focus on a sound or idea. The album’s biggest weakness is the array of high-profile guests, as they don’t mesh into the LP’s vision one bit and virtually create within their arsenal while IDK just mimics what they’re doing. The songs “Shoot My Shot” with Offset and “Hey Auntie” with the prolific Slick Rick highlight this issue in its fullest form. While both tracks show IDK’s versatility, the stylistic and topical differences between a misogynistic trap banger and a deep cut that focuses on the falsities of family life show all that’s wrong with this LP. While on their own cuts like the Young Thug collaboration “PradadaBang” and “10 Feet” with T-Pain are solid as singular set pieces, they plunder in the culmination of ideas IDK is trying to push across. Even worse than these, the Maryland rapper makes an absolute fool out of himself when trying to show off his awkward melodic side in moments like “Puetro Rico” and “Cry in Church”. Overall, it’s hard to take a project seriously when it bounces around from intense moments of sheer vulnerability to goofy cuts about lustful females and endless racks.
Looking through this mess of a record and USEE4YOURSELF‘s highs are the only thing it from being a complete waste of time. Off rip, the two-track run of “Santa Monica Blvd” and “Dogs Don’t Lie,” showcase the high level of artistry IDK really does possess. Whether it’s the energetic proclamation about his life’s current state and the past that brought him there or the reflective tale centered around the principle of trust, we immediately see the maturity and progression in IDK, but it quickly fades away to an endless clutter that feels more like a playlist than a studio release. Towards the record’s tail end, cuts like “1995” and even the odd Neptunes, Swae Lee, and Rico Nasty crossover “Keto” shows IDK’s ability to have fun with his words, cadence, and delivery, but still, we are left half-fed and craving for more formidable material. Looking at the album top to bottom and the only song I can wholeheartedly praise is the posse cut between IDK, Westside Gunn, MF DOOM, and Jay Electronica, “Red”. While DOOM just appears for a few seconds on a faint bridge, the other three MC’s all deliver near-perfect performances to make a collaboration that won’t be forgotten for a long time. Overall, these moments may cool down this dumpster fire of an experience, but they don’t do anywhere near enough to keep the project away from mediocrity.
Walking away from USEE4YOURSELF, and I can say with certainty that IDK was being generous when saying that bloggers would give this album a six as it’s nowhere near that mark. From all standpoints, this LP is a mess, and while they’re both fun bangers and heart-wrenching deep cuts scattered throughout, the deluded landfill you have to go through for just a few moments of redeemability are not worth it. Going forward, I hope IDK can bounce back and create his next album based on his own vision and not on the merit of his tracklist’s star power.
- Fun collaborations
- Flashes of IDK’s maturity and progression
- Project is all over the place in every regard
- Terrible pacing
- IDK tries to replicate guests sound instead of using them to enhance his own
- More than half the tracklist is filler or unnecessary
Written By: Mr. Fantastic