Damn, I’ve been out of the game for a while. You know those times when you’re either sick, out of the country, or preoccupied with something else that you’re unable to get online for a few days or, worse still, a few weeks? You plug back in to the online community feeling like you’ve missed light-years worth of stuff. Well yesterday I received a nice “welcome back to the internet” in the form of a new J. Cole joint that dropped the other day.
Just as my thoughts were beginning to get a little critical of the man from N.C, he drops this (above). My original complaints were of repetitive sayings: “Fayettenam”, “Coleworld” and repetitive content. He didn’t seem like he had much more to add the rap game. He wasn’t bringing anything new. As a friend of mine put it: “He doesn’t have a compelling story to tell.” Yes he went to college, yes he’s from Fayetteville, North Carolina, is that it? He seemed content with talking about money, the things he now has, and the things he didn’t have before. I don’t think Cole quite realised that part of what makes rappers – and musicians in general – so great is when they reveal their innermost vulnerabilities.
He’s drawn many comparisons to a young Nas; if he’s to live up to such claims then Cole has to stop dealing with his story of making it to New York, getting a degree, getting signed and then getting money. Because let’s face it, he hasn’t made it big yet. He’s still unknown by most, he has yet to release an official album – rumours are circulating that Jay-Z has threatened to drop him if he doesn’t speed up the process – and it’s unlikely that he is wealthy just yet.
I want to stop hearing about his story, a ubiquitous success story not unique to him, and start hearing about him. I still don’t feel like I know J. Cole.
All that being said, this song (above) has a vibe to it. The strings in the beat remind me of a Spike Lee film. Perhaps one of the songs from “He Got Game”. It has that rare sound that I yearn for when listening to Hip Hop. That melancholy sound of struggle and nostalgia of better time for New York (I know he’s not a New Yorker but I get the NY-vibe from this song) Hip Hop.
More of this please Mr Cole.