PG County, Maryland rapper IDK on memories, jazz, and juxtapositions


COLORS showcases exceptional talent from all around the globe, focused on the most distinctive new artists and original sounds.


PG County, Maryland rapper IDK on memories, jazz, and juxtapositions

IDK isn’t just a rapper—he’s a world builder. Since 2017, the Maryland native has been one of rap’s most inventive narrators, transporting his listeners to lush sonic soundscapes that function more like feature films than albums. ‘F65,’ a conceptual album inspired by Formula 1, likens life to a race, ruminating on how navigating that course is different as a Black man. It’s an ode to juxtapositions, just like the meaning behind his stage name “Ignorantly Delivering Knowledge.”

In line with his A COLORS SHOW performance of ‘Elmina’ from his recent album ‘F65,’ we spoke to IDK about his creative process, his love for jazz, and his partnership with the nonprofit No Label Academy.

You thrive on conceptual projects. Can you walk us through your creative process? How do you decide what world to build for specific projects?

I write down memories about my life, things I’ve been through, or conversations I’ve had. I don’t usually go back to these texts, but they end up in the back of my mind. My concepts are usually weaved together from the thoughts that are embedded in my mind after writing. ‘F65’ was a little different because I focused on creative direction first. I built the world while making some of the music.

Jazz is the glue of this project. Why did you decide to fuse it with hip-hop? 

I really love jazz. There are a bunch of different people who have fused hip-hop with jazz music, such as De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, and CL Smooth, but it’s not really been such a big thing in recent years. Outside of gospel, jazz is one the oldest forms of Black expression. I thought that looking at its history, and infusing it with contemporary sounds would be the best way to create juxtaposition.

The features on your albums often read like a festival line-up. There are always heavy hitters. How do you identify the artists you want to work with? 

I usually work with the artists I think work best for the record. I try my best not to pair artists with beats that suit them and sound like they should be on them. Then, you just end up replicating the musical palette of the featured artist and releasing a song that’s already out in the world. Instead, I invite featured artists into my world. I make sure the song includes certain elements that they’re familiar with, but try to keep it as original and new for their voice as possible.

What do you enjoy doing outside of music? 

I enjoy going out to eat. Other than that… staying in the house, honestly. If I’m not throwing a party, I like to be home. But I do like to have events and host people.

“Outside of gospel, jazz is one the oldest forms of Black expression.”

Tell us about the song you performed for COLORS. Is there one lyric in the song which is particularly meaningful or important to you? 

A lyric that sticks out to me in “Elmina” is: “I really need to take my time/But I don’t wanna waste no time.” I think that’s a feeling we often feel, especially me when meeting somebody new that you clique or mesh really well with. You know you should slow down, but you don’t want to.

Tell us about No Label Academy, the 10-day music business courses that you run in collaboration with No Label. Why is it important for you to build a pipeline for BIPOC talent to kickstart their music careers, and to reframe what is attainable in the industry?

No Label Academy was created because we wanted to figure out how to change the narrative around obtaining a sustainable career in the arts. I’m an example of someone who doesn’t necessarily have to have a bunch of plaques and number ones, but can still have a sustainable career and live a comfortable life. The project seeks to bring more equity to people of color and people who support that mission into the music industry.

“No Label Academy seeks to bring more equity to people of color and people who support that mission into the music industry.”

A range of IDK's jewelry that he brought on set for the recording of his A COLORS SHOW

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? What are your ambitions for the future? 

I see myself making a transition into the film industry and finding ways to tell my story through film and TV, as opposed to just through albums.

IDK is a PG County, Maryland rapper whose debut A COLORS SHOW dropped on 26th June 2023. You can watch the full performance on our YouTube channel.

Text: Kristin Corry
Photography: Megan Courtis
Videography: Lucas Sanou
Video Editing: Katia Fisenko


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