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  • Writer's pictureHIPHOPVRSE

JID’s ‘The Forever Story’ is equal parts talent and potential

By Anthony Cesario

Last month, rapper JID released his first solo album in four years, The Forever Story. As suggested by its album cover and all-encompassing title, The Forever Story is an ambitious record that puts JID’s rags-to-riches testimony in the broader context of being black in modern America – all in just under an hour.

I don’t often check out hip-hop albums – the genre not being a particular favorite of mine – but JID’s brief yet wonderful guest appearance on Doja Cat’s song “Options” from last year, as well as The Forever Story’s two great lead singles, “Surround Sound” and “Dance Now,” were enough to convince me to give this project a listen. And after sitting with the album for a while, it’s clear to me just how well the singles were chosen: they are far and away the catchiest tracks on here, and the ones I have the most desire to return to. Still, the remaining 13 tracks more than hold their own (for the most part).

On The Forever Story, JID establishes his legitimacy in the hip-hop scene and does so effortlessly. The album could be used as a case study for everything great about the genre. JID’s flow is top-tier and varied throughout; he combines introspection, clever wordplay, and hooks that are catchy without being insubstantial radio fodder. The production is consistently fresh, and since it avoids relying on current trends, it is sure to hold up in years to come. JID also flexes his singing abilities on tracks such as “Kody Blu 31,” which is so much more beautiful than a rapper’s has any right to be.

Some of the album’s best moments come when JID gets more ambitious with the composition of his songs. “Money,” with its kid-choir chorus and anthemic feel, brings to mind Kanye’s The College Dropout in the best way possible. “Sistanem,” meanwhile, is a more low-key, six-minute-long dedication to JID’s sister, on which James Blake and Yuli provide hauntingly beautiful hooks.

Sometimes, though, JID’s ambitions get the best of him and make The Forever Story a slog to get through. His beat switches are fun novelties at first, but become a bit tiresome with how frequently they occur over the course of the album. The track sequencing leaves a bit to be desired, too, with most of the album’s heavy-hitters being shoved in the front half. And while JID’s lyrical content is appreciated, one does get the sense that he could have dug deeper than he does.

Regardless, The Forever Story is a compelling, if not entirely innovative, addition to the year’s music scene. There is room for improvement, but it is still an enjoyable display of JID’s charisma and talent.



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