When I heard J. Cole was putting out a mixtape I was expecting the one thing I know J. Cole always delivers on- poppin off “the n-word” incessantly. He added to my expectations the words “shit”, “bitch” and “bad bitch”.
This is a decent, polished offering from the original Roc Nation signee named J, just in time for him to not be forgotten on the roster, at least for now. There are some cool moments here, a few opportunities to play Guess Who? with some of the samples (Is your person a Stevie Wonder love song?) and some slick turns of phrases sprinkled in to break up the trite moments.
Sure, J. Cole mixes it up and gives us more than just drug dealer anthems, but while he mentions struggling students, fatherless men and abused women his songs don’t seem “peopled” they seem “populated”.
While Cole doesn’t sounds as cyborgy and cold as his Young Money peers his songs don’t really convey a real sense of care for his characters. Every “bad bitch” sounds like the same “bad bitch” every time. Other times it’s like he’s watching the news and shaking his head at some of the stories being covered then changing the channel.
Who are we kidding? J. Cole’s real muse is himself and his own journey. He always sounds like he has a lot to prove and maybe he does. Those Friday Night Lights are bright and if J. Cole can outdo veterans like Talib Qweli, Mos Def and Jay Electronica on a track then maybe he deserves some spotlight in the game.
My picks: “Enchanted”, “Villematic” so far…
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