Surround Sound by JID (ft. Baby Tate & 21 Savage)
Interscope Records and Dreamville released this track on 14 January 2022, as the lead single from JID’s third solo album, The Forever Story, which was issued in full later that year. Overall the project had a moderate showing, peaking at number 12 on the Billboard 200. But this track itself was a more-notable hit on its own, in that it managed to achieve RIAA-platinum certification in less than six months.
As with JID, both of the featured rappers hail from Atlanta. And this song is the first track he has dropped with either 21 Savage or Baby Tate.
Songwriting & Production Credits
Surround Sound samples a 1965 Aretha Franklin track titled One Step Ahead. Therefore the writers of that song, Eddie Snyder (1919-2011) and Charlie “Hoss” Singleton (1913-1985), are also credited as co-authors on JID’s joint. And its other authors besides the three rappers are its producers, Nuri, DJ Scheme and Christo.
Interpretation of the Lyrics
This song is split into two parts, with the second belonging exclusively to JID. During Part I, 21 Savage is granted a verse, while Baby Tate holds down the outro. Said outro has Tate, buttressed with the backing of the Aretha Franklin sample, basically mocking a guy for being such that he’s addicted to giving her oral sex. And at the same time, it can be gleaned that Baby is implying such is so because she’s really hot.
Meanwhile, 21 Savage adheres to the gangsta norm of presenting himself as a street dude that has made it big. And therefore, he keeps it rude, gangsta and braggadocious even as a successful musician, one who gets paid “four hundred racks”, i.e. $400,000, just to do a show.
Throughout both of his verses, JID doesn’t harp so much on the musical side of his life. But he does take a moment to point out that it was unusual for him to end up becoming a rapper. That is to say that he rather comes off more like a drug dealer and, as appears to be his main point, a thug who runs with a crew of genuinely-hard nig*as. Or put otherwise, he and his homeys are akin to a gang of killers.
All of that said, JID has noted that the title of this track points to his background, how, while growing up, he grew accustomed to being in noisy environments. To note, that included the sound of gunshots which sometimes rang out in the ‘hood, and throughout it all he learned how to “channel some type of calm” despite the distractions. The lyrics themselves do not touch upon such a topic, but he did explain that as being the reality which inspired the track’s title.