Jay IDK recently shortened his name, naturally, to simply IDK. At least for the moment, it almost feels grimly prophetic. Somehow, we've been graced by a new voice in hip hop, already fully-formed by the time of his debut. About a week ago, he released that debut, IWASVERYBAD, one of the finest hip hop albums in recent memory, and as of this piece's publication, somehow, no one seems to be talking about it.

To be fair, the upstart rapper seems quite disinterested in a proper album roll out. Slipping out a low-key single less than a month, and the Chief Keef featuring ‘17 wit a 38’ just the day prior to album release day, not to mention the project coming out on Adult Swim. To be sure, the Cartoon Network arm has long been embedded in the rap world (and are almost certainly to thank for an MF Doom and Del the Funky Homosapien’s appearances), this is the first major release under their specific umbrella. (Their larger interest, Williams Street, was involved with Killer Mike's R.A.P. Music, among others, but the differentiation here is meaningful.)

Being Adult Swim, they were equally unenthused with a traditional album release, and the smirking pair has released the album in pieces, offering songs in small chunks in the weeks preceding the album. The music here, however, despite boasting plenty of wit and self-debasement, is far from a joke.

IDK, at 25, has crafted one of the most self-aware rap masterstrokes, using his relatively comfortable Maryland upbringing along with his fascination with - and choice to enter – the nebula of a 'gangsta' lifestyle, as a conduit into America's seemingly unending fascination with, well, the gangbanger.. The album traverses from his infatuation with “down the street,” his mother's warnings, into his perhaps inevitable incarceration. It also manages to tell a story of young love, and, above all, paint a pained picture of a mother's love (leading to an album highlight in 'Birds & the Bees'). It does all this in around 32 minutes.

Even still, the full weight of IWASVERYBAD's full intent doesn't quite hit until the end. A young IDK, sure of his families' disdain due to his choices, is finally made aware of his mother's unending willingness to protect him, and it only took going to jail to realize it. Youthful resentment gives way to thankful love in the course of an album, making this entire affair a tribute to his mother. As ‘Black Sheep, White Dove’ hits, however, we learn of his mother's prior passing in a pained spewing of feelings. It's all a tribute she'll never hear, but in a musical culture still often so obsessed with posturing and wary of oversharing and weakness, IDK has been brave enough to share his story with all of us. For anyone who's ever made mistakes (read: everyone) and been lucky enough to find forgiveness and acceptance (we can only hope), this is powerful stuff. Let him take you down the street, and back again.