Maryland native IDK isn’t afraid to question the meaning of it all.
On his major label debut Is He Real?, the 27 year-old-rapper (born Jason Mills) airs his spiritual struggles front and centre throughout its dense 36-minute runtime. Tackling subjects that range from the existence of God to the untimely loss of his mother in 2016, the intimate and energized songwriting (featuring appearances by Pusha T and Tyler the Creator) is evident both on album and on stage.
At Toronto’s Mod Club, IDK – encased in a white hooded rain jacket and LED glasses – was a surreal sight from first glimpse. His otherworldly appearance, like a visitor touching down to Earth, came preaching the word of hip-hop to everyone below.
It being his inaugural trip to Canada’s largest city, he greeted the riled crowd with genuine open arms, much like a holy figure blessing his flock.
From there, IDK’s rapid fire lyrics and melodic hooks came fast, with little time wasted. Prime cuts like “42 Hundred Choices” had the crowd reciting along bar-for-bar, while the melancholy of “Alone” brought the fan bedlam down to a comfortable whisper.
Slow and vulnerable were the operative descriptions for half of the show. On the song “Julia…” (dedicated to his mother who died from AIDS-related causes) the melodic mood afforded attendees a much needed recharge following a massive mosh-pit that had engulfed the room.
Concluding the set with his hit “24”, the liveness – propelled by the all ages concertgoers – emerged one final, eruptive time. It was a moment that symbolized the popularity of the Maryland rapper fittingly, too. His words – in the hip-hop dominated world – had found meaning.