IDK has elevated himself into one of the game’s most adventurous new artists, frequently subverting expectations through the songwriting choices he makes.
Case in point, his new USEE4YOURSELF song “Red” featuring Westside Gunn, Jay Electronica, and MF DOOM, might have been anticipated to sound a certain way given the parties involved. Yet upon its release, many were surprised with the direction, which found the quartet of lyricists tackling a futuristic and crisp instrumental. Now, IDK has opened up to Billboard about the stacked track’s creation, shedding a bit of light as to how he ultimately put “Red” together.
“A lot of people don’t realize I did that before DOOM passed away,” he explains. “I did not do that to try and squeeze him in there to capitalize after his death. He cleared it. Secondly, it was me trying to be ambitious in putting together a rap track that also had playability in other environments.”
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“Traditionally, those names together mean New York City, oversized fitted hats, hands folded bobbing your head in a small, packed club,” he adds, noting preconceived notions that some listeners may have had going into it. “That’s what those names mean. My idea was to turn it into stadium, strip club music. I wanted to bring those people into an environment that they’re not used to ever being heard in.”
He also addresses the brevity of DOOM’s verse, which amounts to only a few bars; a post-chorus of sorts. “DOOM’s verse is short because if I were to put a whole verse down, to me, it would have been overkill,” says IDK, his production instinct shining through. “I have to still keep the replayability, and the song is already around four minutes. So, I was being sensitive about the time when I put it together.”
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“The song is meant to be fun, dope, but legendary at the same time,” he continues. “I’ve never heard MF DOOM on a trap beat, and that was something that he wanted to do. Even though it’s not his main style, he’s interested in things like that, so I think it was a huge success, and I think it created a conversation, good and bad.”
It’s certainly not the first time IDK and DOOM have linked on wax. Prior to “Red,” the pair connected on “Pizza Shop,” a highlight off his IWASVERYBAD album. Be sure to check out IDK’s full conversation with Billboard right here.
LISTEN: IDK Ft. Westside Gunn, MF DOOM, & Jay Electronica – Red