Rising Brooklyn rapper J.I. has released his introspective and expansive new project, Young & Restless Vol. 1 Baby Don. The 12-song record confirms the 20-year-old as a remarkably versatile talent with the ability to shift gears to communicate the urgency that courses through his work.
The album also arrives alongside the new video for “Relapse,” which can be seen now below. Directed by Derek Dreamfilms, the clip finds our hero in various meaningful spots around Brooklyn — contrasting gritty spaces against scenic backdrops — interspersed with J.I.’s own family photos.
Young & Restless Vol. 1 Baby Don allows J.I. to showcase his range over tracks that pivot from menacing to heartfelt and employ a razor-sharp rapping ability and a keen sense for melody in equal measure. On some singles, like “Riot,” he raps with urgency and poise, maintaining composure amid the chaos around him. Others show off different sides of his personality, like the bitterly emotional “Toxic.” The project also includes fan-favorite tracks like “I Ain’t Gon Lie,” “Murda,” “Taken For Granted,” “Morning,” and “No Hook.”
J.I. (formerly known as J.I. the Prince of N.Y) was born Justin Rivera in Crown Heights. Though fluent in the social media landscape—he leveraged the medium to break into the hip-hop world at only 15—J.I. is blessed with ambition and technical rigor that would have let him succeed in any era. He’s scheduled to hit the international stage on July 10, when he performs at London’s Wireless Festival. The latest in a long line of rap icons that flesh out the unique history of his hometown, J.I. is poised, with Young & Restless Vol. 1 Baby Don, to become one of the defining figures for New York hip-hop in the 2020s.