There's strength in numbers, a testament which J. Cole's Dreamville Records squadron has lived by since the crew's inception. J. Cole may be the marquee talent and face of the label, but Cole has not been slow to extend his assistance and platform to other artists, the latest being J.I.D., who has quickly earned the attention of the rap world and has wasted no time establishing that he can stand on his own two.

Hailing from Atlanta, the relentless spitter grew up in the Bouldercrest/Flat Shoals area, and was originally a standout athlete in football, earning a scholarship to Hampton University. But after being kicked out of school, he would begin to pursue music full-time, first making a name as a member of Spillage Village, a collective comprised of EARTHGANG, Jordxn Bryant, and Hollywood JB.

His DiCaprio EP dropped in 2015, which would help establish him as one to watch; and J.I.D. would continue to grind throughout 2016, appearing on Spillage Village's Bears Like This Too Much. But it would be the rapper's friendship with Ced Baker that would lead to him meeting J. Cole, who would sign to Dreamville Records in February 2017.

The Never Story is his first full-length offering as a member of the Dreamville Records squad, and J.I.D. is poised to make the leap from promising up-and-comer to an established artist with a devoted following. After giving the album a few spins and getting in tune with the music, we've highlighted what we feel are the five songs from The Never Story that best showcase all that J.I.D. has to offer.

  • 5

    "D/vision"

    J.I.D. Featuring EARTHGANG

    The Never Story finds J.I.D. teaming up rhyme animals EARTHGANG on "D/vision," a selection from J.I.D.'s coming-out party that sees the rising spitter flipping lyrical miracles and matching wits with his co-stars. "Body part bone collector/Nosy ass hoes get punched in the septum/That's part of the woes for throwing salt like epson," J.I.D. spews over production by J. Cole, before tossing the mic to Doctur Dot and Johnny Venus. The Never Story features J.I.D. in front in center as a soloist for a majority of the proceedings, but "D/vision" is proof that he's just as effective in a group setting as he is going for dolo.

  • 4

    "All Bad"

    J.I.D. Featuring Mereba

    J.I.D. gets an assist from vocalist Mereba, as the two collide on "All Bad" for a duet that is among the highlights included on The Never Story. Leaving the bars to the wayside for a more sensuous approach, J.I.D. drawls "And if I'm trying to tell the truth, it's all bad/Cause if you looking for the proof, it's all there," over a sparse backdrop of heavy kicks and snares, and an array of keys. Produced by Hollywood JB, "All Bad" is a tender composition that makes for a change of pace and is among the finer fare included on The Never Story.

  • 3

    "Somebody"

    J.I.D.

    J.I.D. delivers a stream-of-consciousness on "Somebody," which finds him giving recollections of past missteps, gaining knowledge of self, and other random musings. Produced by Imaginary Kids, "Somebody" is a groovy drum-laden offering complete with breezy vocals and vocal samples, and serves as one of the more enticing soundscapes on The Never Story. Rapping "I'm not the type of guy that be wildin' for respect/I'd rather be wildin' for a check," J.I.D. gets into his zome on "Somebody," another electric number from his Dreamville debut.

  • 2

    "8701"

    J.I.D. Featuring 6LACK

    "Your best shit ain't better than my worse shit, yeah," 6LACK boasts on "8701," his collaboration with J.I.D. that is as addictive a track as you'll find on the Dreamville signees anticipated long player. Giving a nod to r&b singer Usher's landmark 2001 release, "8701" finds J.I.D. and 6LACK hitting on all cylinders and doing the Childish Major produced beat justice with their contrast of styles. Although brief in length, "8701" is undoubtedly on of the premier offerings on The Never Story and leaves listeners salivating for more.

  • 1

    "Herditary"

    J.I.D.

    "Yeah, yeah, want me to tell you the truth?/What you expect me to say?/Cause if we keeping it true, it's probably never gon' change," J.I.D. croons on "Hereditary," a selection from The Never Story that grabs the listener from the instant they press play. Produced by Officials, "Hereditary" is powered by delicate snares, piano keys, horns, and electric guitar keys, which J.I.D. glides over with finesse. Tackling matters of the heart and the turmoil that can often come with it, J.I.D. scores a winner with "Hereditary," a track from The Never Story that should help boost the rapper's profile in a big way.