Closing out the year’s first episode of The Tonight Show, Atlanta rapper J.I.D. performed his viral hit “Surround Sound.” The catchy song, which was first released two years ago, found second wind last December due to the creation of a TikTok “Ceiling Challenge,” where people mount their phone to a ceiling and perform a choreographed dance. To date, more than 57,000 videos have been posted featuring the track.
Although the original features fellow Atlanta rapper 21 Savage as well as Baby Tate, J.I.D. made his ‘Fallon’ appearance solo in front of a kaleidoscope of images reflecting the inspiration behind the song, which the rapper has said was his attempt to focus on the environmental sounds of his childhood, to escape the chaos of his surroundings.
The song was the lead single on J.I.D.’s third album, The Forever Story, which the rapper released in 2022. At the time, Rolling Stone described it as “perhaps the most comprehensive look into who the 31-year-old is today.”
The rapper, himself, found the album itself a tough exercise. “I tried to bring a community vibe and just see what came out of it, but I’m never doing that again,” he adds. “I promise I’ll never do that again.”
That same year, he was nominated for a Grammy for his feature on Doja Cat’s Planet Her single “Options” and secured his first Top 10 and highest-charting single to date thanks to his verse on the Imagine Dragons song “Enemy.”
Last year, J.I.D. opened up to fellow Atlanta rapper Big Boi about his musical evolution. “I’m still pushing, trying to open up the sound, trying to do new patterns, make it all fresh. I’ve been on tour all year. So I’m seeing different types of inspiration from different walks of life, and I just try to be sensitive about my surroundings so I can take it all in.”