Twenty-eight-year-old Destin Route, also known as JID, has recently been taking the rap game by storm. Given a boost of clout in 2018 with his impressive performance in the otherwise mediocre XXL Freshman Cypher, the previously overlooked wordsmith was picked up by Dreamville Records in the Spring of 2017. JID has reinvigorated the mumble- and trap-dominated rap game with a different approach to the popular genre.
His complex flows over smooth, jazzy instrumentals are very reminiscent of Kendrick Lamar’s style. Considered by many to be the greatest rapper of all time, Cornrow Kenny very similarly seized hip-hop earlier this decade with hits like M.A.A.D City and Swimming Pools, bringing conscious rap into the mainstream.
Despite their similar styles, there are several key contrasts between Kendrick and JID. The “good kid” from Compton grew up in the ‘90s listening to hip-hop legends such as Tupac and N.W.A., which greatly influenced his own music. Kendrick’s contemporaries include the likes of late-2000’s and early-2010’s musicians such as Drake, Big Sean, and A$AP Rocky. On the other hand, JID grew up in the East coast city of Atlanta, idolizing the ‘90s New York rap moguls such as Jay Z, Nas, and Mobb Deep. Destin’s rise to fame paralleled that of the new generation of SoundCloud rappers like Gunna, Lil Baby, and Ski Mask the Slump God.
With a new generation comes different emphases in music, which explains why JID does have more of a pop vibe; however, the influence of New York’s hip-hop scene at the turn of the century presents itself in his raw delivery, lyrical dexterity, and often spooky tone. As he garners more experience and time in the limelight, his unique sound and identity will continue to develop and we fans will continue to eagerly await his work.
JID has a lot to live up to, though, as Kendrick simply does not make bad music. Even his collection of throw-away songs, “Untitled Unmastered”, was one of the better albums of 2016. It is certain, however, that, if he continues to ride off the momentum of his contributions to the most recent Dreamville album as well as back-to-back bangers with “The Never Story” and “DiCaprio 2”, the young rapper has a promising career ahead.