IDK – Breathe
Elevating to another level once again, PG County rap star IDK unveils the big screen-worthy music video for his new single “Breathe” via Clue/Warner Records. Watch it above. It remains a standout from his critically acclaimed eight-track project Simple., produced in full by GRAMMY®-winning dance music auteur Kaytranada.
In the visual, IDK sits atop the concrete high above the city of Paris. He overlooks young men on bicycles who eventually lift off into the sky as they pedal towards the clouds. It seamlessly reflects the mood of the track and ebbs and flows in tandem with the hazy beat-craft, soaring guitar solo, breathy moans, and chantable handclap-laden hook.
Last week, Simple. bowed at #1 on the iTunes Top Electronic Albums Chart right out of the gate. The project also earned widespread critical acclaim. OkayPlayer touted it among “13 New Hip-Hop & R&B Albums You Should Be Listening To,” and hailed it as “sumptuous.” Billboard named “The Code” [feat. Mike Dimes] one of the “R&B/Hip-Hop Fresh Picks of the Week,” while NPR and Hypebeast plugged the EP. HipHopDX highlighted the collection’s diversity, “There’s songs on Simple. which are pumped full of synths and designed for dancing; other tracks are introspective, beckoning a serious listen with an open mind.”
Simple. is IDK’s first full-length rap project helmed entirely by Kaytranada, who has brought his trademark groove to collaborations across the pop spectrum, from Snoop Dogg and Pharrell to Mary J. Blige and The Internet. IDK, a consummate musical omnivore stretches Kaytranada into new creative territory. Nowhere is that clearer on songs like “Breathe” where nocturnal R&B collides with moody ’80s synthpop. “Lemme catch my breath,” he coos lightly, while later on “The Code” IDK unloads sharp bars over a piano-led beat that recalls Kanye’s Graduation era. But the house-hop romps that fans are waiting to soundtrack their summer are here, too.
IDK will be celebrating Simple. with a special NPR Tiny Desk (Home) Concert featuring veteran hip-hop producer and multi-instrumentalist Mike Dean on May 18. Follow IDK on Instagram for more information.
2. Southeast to Paris
3. Dog Food feat. Denzel Curry
4. Zaza Tree
7. The Code feat. Mike Dimes
8. Paris to Southeast
Short for Ignorantly Delivering Knowledge, IDK is as much a moniker as it is a mission. The Prince George’s County, Maryland, artist has long dedicated his life and art to presenting big ideas in accessible ways. Using witty lyricism, percussive flows, and a chameleonic musicality, IDK turns life lessons and philosophical musings into utter bangers. In the process, he’s become one of rap’s most inventive practitioners. His new album, USEE4YOURSELF, is his richest work yet, a sprawling meditation on love, materialism, masculinity, and the effects of a troubled upbringing. Loaded with unpredictable features and recollections from childhood, it’s a character study framed in fierce beats and blockbuster productions. It’s also a culmination for the man born Jason Mills, who began his musical journey behind bars about a decade ago. Through albums like Subtrap (2015), IWASVERYBAD (2017), and Is He Real? (2019) IDK built a proper body of work. And he using that foundation as a jump-off point for not just music, but action that enriches the world: his inquisitive Radio Clue Apple Music radio show; No Label Academy, his music biz course in collaboration with Nike and Harvard University; and his Clue Records, which in 2020 released IDK & FRIENDS 2, a soundtrack for Kevin Durant’s Basketball County: In the Water documentary full of DMV-area artists. As IDK puts it, with that trademark mix of flex and humor: “I’m in competition with myself and only me. And I’m whooping my ass every time.” using that foundation as a jump-off point for not just music, but action that
enriches the world: his inquisitive Radio Clue Apple Music radio show; No Label Academy, his music biz course in collaboration with Nike and Harvard
University; and his Clue Records, which in 2020 released IDK & FRIENDS 2, a soundtrack for Kevin Durant’s Basketball County: In the Water documentary full of DMV-area artists. In 2021 he dropped confessional and guest-laden album USEE4YOURSELF, which featured Young Thug, Offset, Swae Lee, the late great DMX, and more. The critcically acclaimed offering received praise from NPR, Billboard, Office, i-D, NME to name a few. His most recent project Simple. with Kaytranada finds both artists in peak form, pushing each other to new limits. As IDK puts it, with that trademark mix of flex and humor: “I’m in competition with myself and only me. And I’m whooping my ass every time.”