On his new album, IWASVERYBAD, IDK is a master storyteller. And with the release of the visuals for standout track “Pizza Shop,” his skills transcend onto the screen as well.
Releasing the project (which he refers to as a "soundtrack") in three parts with Adult Swim, he has an ambitious plan to release a video for every track on the album.
The first visual comes in the form of a dramatic video for “Pizza Shop,” which took IDK over two months to prep and storyboard. The actual video was shot in two days: One for the car scenes, and one for the scenes inside the shop itself.
IDK has always been a visually minded writer. Between his punchlines and his rap style, IDK’s vivid songs come alive from the first listen. Pairing this writing style with a relationship with Adult Swim, IDK explains that he considers the visuals for the project “a 30 minute TV show.” He hopes that after hearing the album and watching the “show,” fans will be able to walk away with a firm grasp of who IDK is as an artist and as a person.
With more visuals on the way, we spoke with IDK to discuss the making of “Pizza Shop” as well as the role that visuals will play for the remainder of the album. Watch the video below and continue for our full conversation.
Let’s start by talking about the “Pizza Shop” song itself. How did you get everyone on the track?
I originally did “Pizza Shop” and wanted Gleesh on the song. I tweeted him and told him that I liked his music, and he responded. I invited him to my crib, and the day that he came over we did “Pizza Shop” and “Baby Scale.” He said he wanted to do some Eazy-E shit, and tell a story like that “Here’s a little story about that boy that hit licks,” part of the song.
Originally, I wanted the second half of the song to be a different song. I always wanted DOOM or Del. I ended up sending the song to Adult Swim, and they sent it to DOOM. I got the verse through that. A week later, Del said he wanted to do it. They both had really long verses, so I cut them both short so they both could fit.
The “Pizza Shop” video is really well done and makes the song come alive. What’s your directing process like?
I knew it was going to be shot in a car, no flashy car. Something authentic, that I would have been in back then. I teamed up with Jaimie Sanchez who helped me write the treatment. I directed a lot of the actual shots, with the help of her. Visually, I am good with directing. I pay attention to shots when I watch movies, so I always take that into consideration when I do my videos. I know what angles I want. The last shot behind the counter, when I came up and came down, that was something I came up with on the spot.
THE VIDEOS ARE a mixture of abstract and weird, and there’s some that are a little more story-oriented. I look at them as a 30 minute TV show.
Were there any earlier storyboards?
Everything was story-boarded and the treatment was well thought out. We took around two months to prep everything. We took one day to shoot the driving around scene, and we took one night to shoot the actual pizza shop scene.
Do the upcoming videos get more abstract? And do they make something like a movie?
It’s a mixture of abstract and weird, and there’s some that are a little more story-oriented. But it’s exactly that. Really, I look at them as a 30 minute TV show.
Do you think it would be best to consume this album by thinking of it as a visual piece, or is listening enough?
Listening is enough, but adding the visuals paints an even deeper picture. Some people will see the story a lot clearer when they see the visual. Plus, it’s cool as shit!
Were the songs made with visuals in mind, or did the ideas unfold in tandem?
I really like to tell stories anyway, and the punchlines and the way that I rap: t’s visual. That’s one of my advantages: I can make you see things that I’m rapping about, like a metaphor. So I always write visually. It just so happens that we had the situation with Adult Swim, and we were going to shoot visuals for it anyway.
What role do you think visuals play in creating the world around an album?
I don’t think everybody gets everything right away, but when you see something, it’s much easier to get it. In that case, that’s kind of what I want. I want people to get it. “Pizza Shop,” for sure, especially the second half needs to be seen.
this whole project is about people knowing exactly who I am.
Do you see yourself making longer videos or short films in the future?
I’d like to become a director and do movies. That’s my end-all-be-all.
Is there one video you’re most proud of?
The visual for “Maryland Ass N***a.” [Laughs]. we actually got a whole SWAT team.
If you had to write a trailer for the movie of the album, what would you describe it as?
It’s definitely going to be something that’s moving, and it’s going to paint a vivid picture of the reality of my childhood in Prince George County, Maryland.
What are you hoping people walk away with after seeing the visuals?
Who I am. I want people to know how I am. That’s most important, that’s what this whole project is about: people knowing exactly who I am.