After releasing his second studio album DiCaprio 2 late last year, J.I.D. set out his Catch Me If You Can Tour accompanied by Saba, Mereba, and King Mez. On Wednesday, May 8th, J.I.D. paid a visit to Philadelphia’s Theatre of the Living Arts (TLA). After the show, Kevin and I gave our thoughts on J.I.D.’s performance, him being the crown jewel of Dreamville, #stamping Mereba , and more! Here’s our conversation:
Stanley: I wanted to started our conversation at the semi-beginning of the show. Well, I missed King Mez because I can never be on time, but what did you think about Mereba, the second opening act?
Kevin: To quote Darius from Atlanta, “I don’t believe in time as a concept,” so I’m with you. But Mereba! Big fan over here. She was amazing. And what stood out to me is that her rapping was better than I anticipated. I heard her on some tracks doing it but it never hit me until yesterday when she did it in person. I would love to see her as the main act and have her fans fill the room because the crowd was kinda annoying with the talking. But all in all, I really liked her set and apparently she grew up in Philly a little so there’s that. #stamped
Stanley: #Stamped indeed! I thought she was incredible! I was really impressed with her performance. I remember seeing her when I was in school, and instantly became a fan. She’s much better now when rapping, like you mentioned, and she has the catalogue to really carry a show.
I thought the audience was kind of annoying with all the talking during her set, too. Still, I thought she did a good job engaging the room. Lastly, it’s not easy being an opening act when your music is so different from the headliner. She’s on a couple songs with JID, but on average, her music’s pretty different lol. All things considered, I thought it was great.
Stanley: So, JID. The headliner. East Atlanta rap extraordinaire. What did you think about his performance? Big picture takeaways?
Kevin: The East Atlanta Playboy! JID was a rockstar in that jawn yo. No other way to put it. What you hear on tape, is who he is. Lyrical dexterity, breath control, command of the room...I mean you name it, he had it. He had way more bangers than I expected from a “lyricist.”
In my mind, he is the crown jewel of Dreamville not counting J Cole. He is the up-and-coming artist that not only has the ability to rap, but the ability to make great songs. He also is a great personality. As you noted, he had a brief Game of Thrones podcast in the middle of his set and the crowd loved it, even though I knew none of the words he said as I indeed am not a GOT bol. Overall though, I am glad to see the label investing in him with stage set up, etc. I do believe he has another level to reach in the mainstream underground lane.
Stanley: JID was locked in the entire night, no doubt about it. I thought he had great stage presence, and like you said, the breath control to say... a lot of words while bouncing around? How ever you put it, it was impressive. And Dreamville certainly didn’t cut any corners with JID’s tour, and it shows!
One thing I really liked about his set, and him in general, was his appreciation for the music that came before him, or as he called it, “the derivative of things, the old people of things, the grandma of things.” Right before he did Skrawberry, he played JJ Barnes’ “No If’s And’s or But’s” - which I’m finding out is a pretty obscure 70s R&B tune. I really love when musicians openly acknowledge their musical genealogy.
Stanley: Now, it wouldn’t be a concert review from Kevin and Stanley if we didn’t talk about the venue, acoustics, and audience demographics. Quick sidetone, I feel like this are our “let’s complain about the referees” moment. But, anyway, what did you think about the TLA? We tried to bury it before lol.
Kevin: Let’s complain about these refs man lol. But nah, the person in charge of sound was there this night! That jawn was BOOMING. Floor shaking and what not. After the Mick’s show where that jawn sounded like he was performing in a tin can, not even sure if this metaphor makes sense, this JID performance had me satisfied with TLA. All night it sounded right and I will applaud them for it.
But these demographics! This is indeed our corner. It was decidedly a mixed crowd and young. It was a raucous crowd that was chanting for him all night. By the end of the night, people were sweaty like they ran three games of full court basketball. I like this change up because normally NY/Philly crowds get the rap for being too chill, at hip hop shows especially. This crowd did mosh pits and jumped up and down with JID whenever they got the opportunity. Hip-Hop normally brings out the people of all backgrounds and this was no different. Glad he sold that jawn out.
But....you must answer for one thing. You stated that JID is indeed better at words than Black Thought! You must rewatch the Black Thought freestyle on Funk Flex and tell me that with a straight face again. I’m definitely misquoting you on purpose here but you must answer for it.
Stanley: Haha - I don’t remember what you asked me for me to respond that way. But let’s talk about it, because I think it’s an interesting comparison. I remember Tourè asking Black Thought what he thought about this generation’s rappers, in particular mumble rap, and he said something about newer rappers not liking words. JID’s obviously the opposite of that, and is a lyricist to the core. Stylistically, JID’s more closely aligned with “older” rappers. He’s not pissing off shows with ad libs — he’s rapping rapping.
Ironically, and I will admit to possibly being off base here, he kind of reminds me of Busta Rhymes! At one point I heard a little Twista, but by the end of the show I settled on Busta. Not all the time, because I think JID can do a singy-thing at times, and use other flows, but JID can have a similar flow to Busta.
I thought the sound was on point too! JID pushed the building, its foundation, and the sound to its limits. Demographically — JID brought everybody out lol. Never seen the TLA that packed before!
Kevin: As JID told the kid who came on to perform a song with him, “stop jumping around you gonna need your breath.” JID doesn’t take a bar off and not only that, he definitely does this double time rap thing a lot so I can see where you going with the Busta/Twista thing. I will be corny and say I see clear Kendrick influences, especially when JID does the fast rap-y thing. Regardless of the fact, Black Thought has to respect JID for his attention to the lyrics, as the bars and flow feel like a beat on its own.