Ah IDK. We haven’t heard from him in… well, the last time we heard from IDK was last year with his sequel EP IDK & Friends 2 which was also the soundtrack to NBA star Kevin Durant’s Showtime documentary, Basketball County: In the Water. Now he’s back with his second album USEE4YOURSELF, following up on 2019’s ISHEREAL? I remember rating that album quite highly, and with this project, I hear some interesting stuff going in with more varied, unique production than previous projects as well as a good amount of guest features. So I decided to see for myself, and what did I get?
Tying back to some of the themes of his previous work, IDK’s focus here is on the lack of love in his home growing up and how it affected his views on relationships, women, and religion, or as he said himself, the early instilment of toxic masculinity. For example, in “Dogs Don’t Lie” he raps that his vice is not taking advice, and if he didn’t listen hard enough, that’s too bad for him. There’s another verse leading off with how his album got mixed reviews, giving him 6s and how his fans got his back. “PradadaBang” is just hypnotic on the production with this infectious trap beat courtesy of JaVale McGee (yes, 3-time NBA Champion JaVale McGee) and a song about the topic of gold-digging women. The hook here comes from Young Thug, and he does flow well on this beat.
How you want Birkins and shit (Woo)
When you ain’t even got a house? (Right)
We get in one argument, you gon’ live in that purse when I’m kickin’ you out (Woo)
I don’t fuck with no broke bitches, ain’t no doubt
That be chasin’ them rich niggas for the clout
Put they head in the ceilin’, in the clouds (Poof)
And then they go runnin’ they mouth (Uh-huh)
And then they go tellin’ they friends (Uh-huh)
Talkin’ ’bout, “He ain’t a man” (Yeah)
Milkin’ the game, I want everything from hundreds to change (Everything, nigga)
House is insane, glass porch, you could sleep in the rain (Yeah, yeah, yeah)
I forgot to tell you that the kids say they want a private plane
I forgot to tell you that that girl say she need a Prada-da bang (Bang, bang, bang, bang
There’s more songs talking about the women in his life such as “Shoot My Shot,” and I have to mention this one line where he goes “My type, my type, yeah, yeah, my type“. Yeah, that’s interpolated from Saweetie’s song “My Type”… who used to date Quavo… and Offset has a verse on here. Well, that’s awkward.
Then there’s “Red” which really interested me the most considering it features none other than Westside Gunn, Jay Electronica and the late MF DOOM… and yet I’m kind of disappointed in this one looking back. I do appreciate the interpolation of Big Tymers “Still Fly”, and Gunn does his thing here but sounds off on this production. I wish DOOM would’ve had more of a verse but I get why he didn’t (sadly), and Jay Electronica goes off on his anti-vax spiel near the end of the song. This song is supposed to be about women, but you wouldn’t know it as the song goes everywhere from the Mike Jones ad-libs to the weird placing of what little DOOM had.
Luckily, for the next track “Puerto Rico” (with Lucky Daye), it’s got a smooth vibe going for it, and “10 Feet” has him talking about being in love with someone and also features T-Pain in the mix. “Keto” has that 2000s bounce vibe with production courtesy of the Neptunes and more features, but this time with Swae Lee and previous collaborator Rico Nasty.
I’m makin’ all these plays, these bitches can’t intercept me
Make a nigga think he got it but I’m really pretending
Yeah, he think it’s all love, I don’t really got none
I don’t care what he think ’cause I never gave a fuck
“Peloton” was a single released way prior to the album that samples “Payback Is A Dog” from 70s R&B group The Stylistics, and that one made for a decent single, but with that, the album does exit from the love and relationship aspect into discussing the home life he grew up in on tracks 13-17. with the exception being “Peloton”. “1995” pictures him being cold and distant with his mother, picturing his family like one of those on TV, and that the only time they ate like a family was at Applebee’s. “Hey Auntie” is where he imagines his childhood being more enjoyable with a smiling and doting mother, and halfway to the second verse, he revealed that he got molested… holy shit… oh, and we get a feature verse from Slick Rick, which is nice to hear since he’s been popping up on features recently.
“Cry In Church” is that moment of IDK showing more of his vulnerable side, talking about how much he’d rather be broke but satisfied than rich and unhappy, ending the song off with a prayer from the late DMX, which was lifted off “The Prayer V” from his album The Great Depression. The final song “Closure” is a fitting one with him doing a spoken word conversation with his mom about trying to be better in his life, having more focus on things like religion, and treating women with respect.
Yeah, I still believe that IDK continues to be an interesting rapper, and this album is very solid, even with the topic of girls being more of a presence than anything else. I do feel like he didn’t want to do a repeat of ISHEREAL? and I get that. I do like that he still can balance out the fun banger tracks with the introspective content. It is worth the listen if you already been following him for this long.
FINAL VERDICT: Buy It. An album that you can see 4 yourself on how good it is.
USEE4YOURSELF is on Clue no Clue/Warner Records and is available on digital download and streaming services.