Photo by Sabrina Vaz-Holder | Interview by Elizabeth Benitez
After spewing his way through Sway In The Morning’s “Friday Fire Cypher,” Jay IDK has been attracting attention and has many keeping their eyes on his every move. The Maryland native, who recently dropped his “Subtrap” (trap music with substance) project, is a fervent artist with a knack for storytelling and impeccable wordplay. Read below as he deciphers “SubTrap, the sub-genre, and what the future holds.
Sway’s Universe: Jay IDK, your name serves more depth, can you decipher what it stands for?
Jay IDK: IDK stands for Ignorantly Delivering Knowledge. The only way our generation will listen.
SU: As far as your sound, can you talk to us about what you represent?
Jay: Basically you know, taking what people would I guess consider “ignorant music” and then adding substance or knowledge to it, you know what I mean? I listen to both sides. I listen to ignorant music, I listen to conscious music. Sometimes conscious music could be boring, so I kind of found a way to fuse the two.
SU: You just dropped a project not too long ago, “Subtrap.” Give us a little more on the density that is embedded between the lines.
Jay: Yeah, basically “Subtrap” is trap music with substance. It’s basically another way of ignorantly delivering knowledge. Some people perceive certain types of trap music to be ignorant and although you know, it may not be lyrical as people may think, there’s always something you can add to it to give it substance. That’s kind of what I did with “Subtrap.” I just kind of took that style of music which I like, and took another style of music that I like, and fused them.
SU: As far as developing that type sub-genre of hip-hop, what was the process like, being that vessel for that type of sound?
Jay: It came pretty natural. Basically that’s what I listen to, you know what I mean? So the influences were easy and then putting them both together, almost anything I do is usually like an oxymoron or a paradox or something like two things that just don’t go together.
So it pretty much came about effortlessly, it just so happened that I was going through something in my life at the time and what was going on in my life kind of played really big into the whole drug game and in a way where I could actually bring knowledge into it. For instance, the whole thing was like allegedly selling weed to pay for music, you know what I mean? Because of the selling weed to pay for music, I thought about selling coke, and when I thought about selling coke, it was literally like, a thought in my mind that I used to create a character called “King Trappy,” which is basically your typical trap rapper. So it started off just me telling my life story but then I turned it into this like fictional almost story that, when they all came together, it was like literally ignorantly delivering knowledge. So that’s kind of how the process was creating that.
SU: What would you say is the next step with where you’re taking this tape? I know you just dropped “The User & The Seller” which was the short film-type visual that introduced us to two characters off “Subtrap,” what’s next after?
Jay: Ah man, some more visuals. You’ll definitely see some shows and we got some other creative and different ideas that you’ve probably never seen before in the rap game at least, that I plan on bringing to the table.
SU: Your journey to A3C, is this your first time here?
Jay: This is my third time here actually. My first time, I had no official shows, second time I had one official show, and now everybody kind of wants me on something out here. So it’s dope man, just the growth you know? Last year I came here, nobody really knew who I was. This year, I come here and people are recognizing me, saying “what’s up?” to me, and telling me that they appreciate what I’m doing.
SU: What does the future hold for Jay IDK?
Jay: Basically, the best way I can answer the question is, I guess everything. I’m going to be here for a while. My goal is to be in this game and be one of the greatest, you know? So I feel like I’m going to touch everything. Everything that you could possibly accomplish as a rapper, and then some.
SU: Can you talk to us a little about the HXLY TRiBE?
Jay: The HXLY TRiBE is just a movement that was created and stands for “Hated By Others. Loved By You.” It’s a lot of the people who support what we’re doing. Kind of like the movement that we’re trying to push.
SU: The movement itself is gaining a lot of attention and what’s dope about it too is that you’re connecting with fans and its that interaction that keeps it going, what is that like for you?
Jay: It’s dope having some people that support the crazy ideas that I have in my head, you know? I want to continue that and I want to grow it, and I want it to be larger than life, so I embrace it. I embrace people showing me love and supporting the movement.
CreatVeli Awakens Curious Ears At A3C
Artists, curators, builders, culture shakers of all kinds came together for a 5-day conference and festival in Atlanta, Ga. The conference is a staple in the music world for up and coming and established artists from “all three coasts,” better known as A3C. From panels, to mixers, and showcases, the days grew busy as hands shook, pictures were taken, and connections were made. Knowledge was gained and vibes were embraced.
As many planned their schedules and coverage, Creativ District and The Veli Brand geared up to bring a versatile showcase full of talent. With Jay IDK, PJ, Nickelus F, OGG’s DJ Bluetooth, and many more among the bill, Harlem Night shook with energy as the crowd bounced, sang along, and danced the night away. With moments to spare, we caught up with the DMV come up Jay IDK and Atlantic Records’ latest signee, PJ.