Before launching into “Kody Blu 31,” a soulful and serious mid-album cut from his new record, at the NPR Tiny Desk office studio, JID “cut the Usher tension” in the room with a casual “watch this.” The moment was exemplary of his whole 22-minute set: The 31-year-old Atlanta rapper paced his seven songs — pulled from all corners of his five-year solo career — perfectly, offsetting the session’s darker moments with a light touch.
JID kicked the show off with “Galaxy,” the dreamy, jazz-tinged opener of his third studio LP, The Forever Story, which arrived August 26 via J. Cole’s Dreamville Records. From there, he brought the audience back in time four years with “Workin Out” and “Off da Zoinkys,” two tracks from his 2018 sophomore album, DiCaprio 2, and “NEVER,” from 2017’s The Never Story — his first full-length outside of Spillage Village (a collective also featuring EarthGang, 6lack, Hollywood JB, Jurdan Bryant, Mereba, and Benji at various points in time.) For his final three songs — “Sistanem,” “Surround Sound,” and the aforementioned “Kody Blu 31” — he returned to the new project.
Helping him along on his journey was an eight-piece backing band featuring Teja Lanier Veal on bass, Grady Housworth on trombone, Allan Knighton on saxophone, Michael Cruse on trumpet, Samuel Williams on keys, Divante Davis on drums, and Najinga Luster and Rashida Chitunda on backing vocals.
Listen to JID’s full Tiny Desk Concert above and stream The Forever Story below.