Picture a cramped car on a sweltering summer day. Inside are nearly 10 people jostling for position in front of an air conditioning vent. This family, composed of two parents and seven kids, is en route to a vacation spot in the general vicinity of their native Atlanta, Georgia. The likelihood of finding something on the radio that everyone can agree on––both due to competing tastes and the unreliability of signal towers on the highway––is low. So the family takes to making up its own songs, singing as a unit.

“My family was always musically inclined,” the youngest son tells Complex, recounting trips to nearby spots like Myrtle Beach, South Carolina during his youth. “My mom and dad could sing.”

“But,” you say to the youngest son (now a 27-year-old rap star), “given your career, didn’t you have a leg up on everybody?”  

“Oh, yeah,” he replies with a grin. “I knew I was better than everybody in the car.”

These car rides represented liminal childhood experiences for Destin Route, better known today as budding rapper J.I.D. In just a few short years in the spotlight, he’s basked in the glory of winning, quickly becoming one of the genre’s most vibrant young voices; an artist capable of embodying the everyman, yet also one who’s blessed with uncommon skills for lucid narrative, melody, and grippingly naked autobiographical writing.