IDK – F65 Review

Photo credit - Pixabay

Photo credit – Pixabay

River Dalley, Writer

I first heard of Maryland rapper Jason Aaron Mills, known professionally as IDK, through hearing one of his songs on Soundcloud a couple of years ago. I decided to check out his most recent album at the time, 2021’s SEE4YOURSELF, and besides a couple of tracks, I didn’t take much away from it. However, when I saw a new song from IDK (attached to a brand new album) on my Spotify homepage recently, I was intrigued. I gave the track “Pinot Noir,” a listen, and I was thoroughly impressed. Thus, I decided to give the whole album, F65, a try. While I can certainly respect the album’s lush production, catchy hooks and creative ideas, F65 falls flat when it comes to its overabundance of interludes, properly implementing its “concept” and overall lack of focus.

F65 is themed around racing, specifically Formula One racing. There are various clips from F1 races scattered throughout the album, featuring noises of zooming vehicles and a race commentator screaming about racers such as Lewis Hamilton. The album also themes itself around luxury, sporting lush instrumentals, French song titles and mentions of luxurious items throughout the album. However, this theme isn’t very well implemented as the F1 clips feel very randomly placed throughout the album, and the topic of French luxury is only touched on once in an interlude. There are racing-themed lyrics on the first few songs, but these lyrics fade about by the time the first half of the album passes. I wish IDK took more time to properly flesh out this theme because the thought was definitely there.

Regardless of the theming issues, there are quite a few highlights on F65. The production throughout the project is, for the most part, lush, whimsical and easy on the ears. It makes for a very pleasant listening experience, making me feel as though I’m lounging on my porch on a sunny summer day. A few of the songs are good as well. The first actual song on the album, “Pit Stop,” is a decent song with an energetic beat and fun lyrics, and the following song, “Thug Tear,” with a clean instrumental, heartfelt lyrics about lost loved ones and loyalty and a fun hook sung by Fat Trel. “Salty,” featuring Memphis rapper NLE Choppa, is also a fun track; the lyrics are braggadocious and Choppa sounds as energetic as ever trading lines with IDK. The aforementioned “Pinot Noir,” featuring Saucy Santana and Jucee Froot, is probably my favorite songs on the album, cleverly sampling Khia’s “My Neck, My Back,” and featuring energetic and sassy verses from Santana and Froot. 

If I had to take away one song from this album, “Pinot Noir” would probably be my top contender. “Rabbit Stew” is also a highlight, detailing a story about a faulty relationship and IDK’s attempts to repair it. The second-to-final track, “Superwoman,” is the final highlight for me, in which IDK showcases some pretty decent vocals, singing about a failed relationship and the mixed emotions that arose from it. There are quite a few highlights on F65 that I wouldn’t mind returning to in the future. 

However, with the highlights come even more lowlights. First of all, out of the 22 songs on this album, seven of them are interludes, none of which are necessary at all. From the dialogue showcased on “Champs-Élysées” and “D.S.T.P.,” to the completely random racing clips included on “St. Nicholas & 118th,” nothing about the interludes really add much to the experience of the album. Some of the interludes are just disappointing, which is especially true for “Middle Passage,” featuring legendary rapper Snoop Dogg. You may be thinking, “Wow, Snoop Dogg is on this song? I wonder what he’ll sound like rapping on it!” Alas, there is no Snoop Dogg rap verse on this song; all we get is a 20-second clip, probably pulled from an already-existing interview, of Snoop Dogg talking about marrying his wife after taking the advice of fellow rapper Tupac. Don’t get me wrong, the interlude has a nice sentiment, and it adds to the following track. However, I think it’s misleading to list Snoop Dogg’s appearance on an album as a feature, only to have it feature a very short interview clip of him without any actual “feature.” It feels as though IDK just wanted people to see that he had a legend like Snoop Dogg on his album for the sake of it, which is kind of cheap in my opinion. 

After listening to this whole project front to back, I left my listening experience confused as to what IDK was trying to accomplish on this project. It seems like a plethora of good ideas with little to no organization to strengthen the experience. However, in individual pieces, this album is certainly enjoyable, and I admire IDK’s rapping, production, and vision throughout it. Would I recommend this album? To rap fans, sure! I don’t see why not, I thought it was decent. Would I listen to this whole album from front to back again? Possibly. Would I enjoy just listening to individual songs from it more? Absolutely. Five and a half stars out of ten.