Dreamville / Interscope · November 30, 2018
Although DiCaprio 2 has plenty to offer in terms of quick-witted rhymes and intricate flows, much of the album fails to leave an impact.
Atlanta rapper J.I.D has been rapidly on the rise in the rap game, with The Never Story being one of my favorite albums in the genre last year. J.I.D managed to produce catchy hooks on songs like ‘NEVER’ and ‘Hereditary,’ complementing those with his incredible technical ability, from flows to rhymes to inflection. This, along with a standout XXL appearance earlier this year proved that J.I.D is a top of the line technical rapper. DiCaprio 2, then, feels oddly like an attempt for J.I.D to prove himself in a rap game where he is clearly already a standout. Although it has plenty to offer in terms of quick-witted rhymes and intricate flows, much of the album fails to leave an impact.
Many of DiCaprio 2’s songs deal with J.I.D and his abilities. This, in combination with his standout execution, makes for a lot of great flows and some standout lyrics. Songs like ‘Off Deez’ and ‘Slick Talk’ mesh these two aspects of the album perfectly: catchy songs that hit hard and continue to show that J.I.D deserves respect with his music. Some standout self-references from these songs are “J.I.D the butcher, who want the beef?” and “J.I.D so flame, I propane rap.” Unfortunately, over half the songs on this album fall into this vein, and this causes the album itself to come off as far less personal than The Never Story. Songs like ‘151 Rum’, ‘Mounted Up’ and ‘Westbrook’ seem unnecessary when the point has already been established.
The slower cuts on this song are a mixed bag as well. The song ‘Working Out’ is one of my favorites from the album. His versatility shows on this song, with J.I.D giving an incredibly heart-wrenching first verse and melancholy hook. Unfortunately, the next song ‘Tiiied’ with features from 6lack and Ella Mai doesn’t hold J.I.D to the same emotional standard and seems far less personal than ‘Hereditary’ off of The Never Story.
This album is certainly not without its high points. ‘Off Da Zoinkys’ is a focused, powerful song offering a very strong and well-put message regarding drug abuse. J.I.D sums it up best at the end of the song, rapping, “Little powder, put the pot in the bong / I ain’t trippin’, I ain’t sayin’ it’s wrong / But, it’s some other shit we can be on.” ‘Hot Box’ is a great boom-bap track, with Method Man and Joey Badass being two great features on this song. ‘Despacito Too’ is a great closer to the album, wrapping up J.I.D’s ambitions and encouraging people to follow their own in a concise track with more of J.I.D’s quick rhymes and varied flows.
Although it’s longwinded, DiCaprio 2 has promising material from J.I.D. I’m excited to see what he can do in the future, taking a step forward with his songwriting. I hope that his next album takes a step away from this braggadocious style and toward the deeper, message-ridden songwriting that he’s proven himself to be capable of here and on The Never Story.