Gracie Stagliano

When I told my friends I was going to cover Isaiah Rashad’s concert, after telling me they were insanely jealous, those who knew his music described it as “chill” rap. As one friend put it, it’s not exactly what you listen to at the gym. While I wouldn’t necessarily argue with this classification, experiencing Isaiah Rashad live was completely different. With so many devoted and fervent fans in the audience rapping and dancing along with Rashad, the show was anything but chill.

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Jay IDK was the perfect opener to feed off and build up the crowd’s enthusiasm for Rashad, while also gaining their interest in his individual music and artistry. He walked onstage to YG & Nipsey Hussle’s song “FDT (Fuck Donald Trump)” in a Ronald Reagan mask, making a political statement before even speaking. He went on to explain that the second half of his stage name stands for Ignorantly Delivering Knowledge, meaning that he could make political statements in his songs, but that people are more likely to pay attention to songs like “I Picture” or “God Said Trap (King Trappy III).”

After taking off the Reagan mask, Jay began his set, and though many in the audience did not seem to have prior knowledge of him, they immediately matched his enthusiasm. He was moving around the stage so quickly that it was hard to get a good picture of him in action, but the crowd loved his energy.

Between songs, Jay wavered between rap and spoken word, abandoning any beats to speak to the crowd more directly. These pieces were more politically oriented than many of his other songs. By performing his so-called “ignorant” rap, Jay was able to have the attention of the audience while he intermittently delivered a more knowledgeable message. Jay’s performance style was not only artistic and political, it was also insanely fun. The crowd—myself included—had a great time dancing with him and feeding off his enthusiasm.

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After the show, I approached Jay to compliment him on his performance. One of my friends asked Jay what they should know about him, this being our first time seeing him perform. His response was that by the end of 2017, everyone will know who he is. With a performance so energetic, intriguing, and original, his prediction might not be far from the truth.

Learn more at http://www.jayidk.com/

Check out more photos of Jay IDK and Isaiah Rashad below.

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