IDK - Ignorantly Delivering Knowledge
IDK marked himself as one of the most exciting artists in the hip-hop scene that emerged in recent years. Not only because of his music, but because of the original ways he puts himself out there, and because of the way he spreads his message & actions he takes to support the community.
By Dean Ace
Photographed by Michael Tyrone Delaney
Jason Aaron Mills, also known as IDK, short for Ignorantly Delivering Knowledge, marked himself as one of the most exciting artists in the hip-hop scene that emerged in recent years. IDK's music is carried by the never-ending energy he brings to the table, probably driven by his ambitious persona, evoking multiple emotions in his audience. IDK never dedicates him to a specific sound; Trap, Hardcore, and conscious rap are just some of the sub-genres he experiments with from the beginning of his career. A glance at his guest list in his new album 'USEE4YOURSELF', featuring Young Thug, MF DOOM and slick rick among others, will stand behind this statement.
In addition to the great music he creates and his undoubted talent as a versatile rapper. IDK's rise to fame could also be a source of inspiration for others, especially for an independent artist, working hard day to day on their long way to success, trying to break the glass ceiling that the music industry posed to them. The same glass IDK knows sentimentally, for many years, he coped with the challenge of an independent artist, the record labels ignored him, found himself at jail four times, and it seems that no one was betting on IDK as one that could succeed as an artist, no one except IDK.
It took IDK time, yet, after several mixtapes releases and slightly but rightfully building from the bottom, he earned what he deserves. In 2018, IDK finally got signed at Werner group, in what turned out to be a reward for all the efforts he put into his craft. However, the complex journey he has been through did not stop him from showing empathy for his colleagues. Although IDK passed these obstacles, many talented artists found themselves giving up on their dream due to the challenges that are waiting on the corner for musicians trying to emerge on their own. IDK decided to use the experience he earned through his career as an independent artist and justify his stage name by delivering this knowledge to the world. Unlike what you would expect from a typical rapper; instead of providing his expertise with his music, IDK collaborated with unexpected allies, Harvard University. Together, they offer the 'No Label Academy' program, a 10-day music business course, for musicians who have to face the music industry on their own.
IDK teamed up with NoLabel, a non-profit media platform that focused on showcasing underrepresented stories. The course gathers managers, publicists, A&R that teach several topics, including financial literacy, contract negotiations, networking, social media strategy, and mental health. IDK believes that these topics contain what it takes for an artist to build himself rightfully in the complex music industry of our days. Moreover, he sees this as an opportunity for young artists to get bits of advice, advice that he was hoping to get at the beginning of his career. "There's a lot of people with the potential to be like me. I want to find those people and educate them on how to properly go about creating that career in music."
IDK's course has significant meaning, but not only from the perspective of the education and the high-value service he could provide to artists. The course is in Harward, the great symbol of the academic system, part of traditional institutes known for their racial inequality, launching a music program studies, under hip-hop artists like IDK, that talks constantly about injustice in his music. All mentioned above showcasing how unique this operation is.
In the bottom line, no matter if IDK's plans to expand the program will come true, he already proved he is more than just a great artist or sharp businessman. The potential impact of this program is much more than something that should be measured in a musical context. IDK ideas are challenging what's right in the cultural and musical field, delivering his personal knowledge on his way to greatness.