5 Facts About Hip Hop Cares Honoree IDK

His stage name is short for Ignorantly Delivering Knowledge.

Born Jason Mills and raised in Prince George's County, Maryland, the hip hop artist known as IDK, along with having compiled an impressive catalog in his young career, has been one of the most consciously forward artists in music today. 

RELATED:  The 2019 BET Hip Hop Awards Cypher

While the 29-year-old has released two successful albums, He Real (2019) and USee4Yourself (2021), IDK has also produced for other musicians, made moves into fashion and business, and has been instrumental in giving back with his No Label Acadamey initiative, which is a program started by he and two Harvard graduates to empower and train Black youth in entering the industry.  


As this year’s Hip Hop Cares Honoree, he took time to speak more on the initiaive during the program. 

"Its everything from monitization and story and vision, all the way to mental health," he saiys. "I think it just came from an idea that I had being with people from my neighborhood and where Im from and realizing how much they wanted to get into the music business and learn. They just didn't have the means or the confidence."

Here are some facts about the recipient and just how deeply immersed he is in using hip hop for good.  

  1. Born in London

    21 Savage is not the only rapper with British roots. IDK, too, was born in the UK— in Clapham, to be exact. 

    His Ghanaian father and Sierra Leone-born mother met and conceived him in the English city before he’d eventually move to the US at the age of two. IDK visits frequently, as he still has a lot of family out there.

  2. Meaning of “IDK”

    A good gauge on the type of artist IDK is and how he’s always embodied the essence of the Hip Hop Cares Award is by taking a look at the meaning behind his name. 

    It’s an acronym for Ignorantly Delivering Knowledge, which speaks to the duality of his upbringing and is a contradiction in and of itself. 

    "It's basically part of the key principles of what makes me who I am," he says in an interview with NPR.  "Ignorance and knowledge contrast, two things that don't go together, something you want and something you need, and putting all of that together in one person ... that's basically what it stems from."

    Mills thought it up while incarcerated as a teenager, serving time in prison on robbery and weapons charges. 


  3. Created a Business Program at Harvard

    Although only two studio albums in, IDK has already been finding ways to give back, and in ways that have not been seen by a rapper. 

    The “Once Upon A Time” rapper partnered with Harvard University on a music business program to teach students the ins and outs of the music industry and give them the tools to launch their own careers. 

    Aimed at Black people and people of color, the Associated Press reports how IDK’s No Label Academy put on a tuition-free, all expenses paid program for 10 days on Harvard University's campus from August 21-31.  

    “I decided to create this program for the purpose of letting people in the BIPOC community know that a job in the arts is a lot more realistic than what society makes it seem these days,” IDK said in a statement. 


  4. Made New Albums To Become A Better Person

    IDK reinforces these positive messages in his music as well. The artist's recently released sophomore album, USEE4YOURSELF, talks of his early life and family history, particularly his difficult relationship with his mother, who passed away in 2016. 

    The album also touches on his struggles with vulnerability as a Black man.


  5. Has His Own Label

    Furthermore, IDK gives back by offering the same opportunities he was given. 

    After seven years of self-releasing albums and touring independently, in 2019, he revealed a partnership with Warner Records for his label, Clue. 

    “I like to look at myself as an Akon,” IDK tells Forbes. “I’m gonna have my hits and I’m gonna be a global star, but I’m also gonna find my Lady Gaga and my T-Pain.”


Latest News

Subscribe for BET Updates

Provide your email address to receive our newsletter.

By clicking Subscribe, you confirm that you have read and agree to our Terms of Use and acknowledge our Privacy Policy. You also agree to receive marketing communications, updates, special offers (including partner offers) and other information from BET and the Paramount family of companies. You understand that you can unsubscribe at any time.