Not one catchy, memorable hook or chorus. Not on his beats and not lyrically.
He makes a 24 bar loop and raps on it with no regard to songcraft, then kinda freestyles his choruses and hopes they stick. The few times he’s done it right were the ones that got him signed and built his buzz, but he has absolutely got to do better at this stage. He is still that kid with the bedroom studio more concerned with keepin it real and kicking the illest rhymes, and that doesn’t cut it when you’re in this mainstream environment. Tons of cats out writing good choruses, on dope beats, and still commercially successful, so you can’t keep trying to Canibus every track.
I like this, but in the same way o remember every generic rappity rap song (hi, Logic!): dope once then I completely forget about it because I just don’t care. Too many of these.1999 was a long time ago dog.
It’s pretty evident that he doesn’t want to be mainstream. A long time ago (2009), Drake and Cole both dropped the hottest tapes of the year. So Far Gone and The Warm Up… Since then Drake has gone mainstream, and Cole has stayed true to himself. I think both he and his fans are cool with that.
The problem with Cole is that he doesn’t try to make anything different. Anytime he kind of tries to go mainstream, we get something like Mr. Nice Watch or Work Out. It feels forced or just unnatural. More importantly though, he’s doing the same thing he was doing since the warm up. In my opinion, if he wants to break barriers in music history, he’s gotta take some more risks creatively. This may mean that he can let someone else make a few beats for him. He could possibly work with some artists outside of his genre to spread his creativity. Nobody can knock him for his lyricism or flow, however, he hasn’t done anything new with it at all since the first tape I heard him on. Kendrick Lamar is a good example of flow switch ups and stylistic vocal infections. You can clearly hear a difference from O.D to GKMC. J. Cole is definitely one of my favorite rappers but I think he could still take some risks stylistically while holding on to who he is.
i must concur with mr. smarter. just feels like cole is rapping for the sake of rapping and not trying to push any musical boundaries. i mean its a nice beat and he definitely spits. but artistically he’se stil the same as on the warm up. plus although his beats are nice (sample selection etc) they’re a bit boring in my opinion not much going on in the mix from a musical/artistic perspective.
Samir, do you have data on that? I have some theories, but I’d appreciate anything that backs up or disproves them.
I like Cole. I really do. But only in the way that I like most underground, backpack, rappity rap rappers. They’re cool when that’s I’m in the mood for, but they get … tiresome. They wear you down with this non-stop barrage of hot bars, to the point where nothing stands out. And eventually, I don’t care to hear cats rap about how good they rap.
Ok, I hate to say it because I wanted to wait but I listened to the album early. This album is above and beyond any body of work he’s put out ever. Production is 100x better than Sideline Story and the stories are still poignant. No forced mainstream hits on this one, just soulful straight hip-hop.
Tough spot. Mixtape Cole > Retail Cole.
Most dont appreciate Mixtape Cole or respect the necessary evil that is Retail Cole.
At this point I’d rather Mixtape Cole put Katty Perry and Chief Weak on a hook for that crossover audience than hear another forced, Paula Abdul inspired, radio single. I DID like Power Trip, tho
Haven’t listened yet, but it’s clear that Cole is falling into the Wale category; either your gonna love it or hate it. I don’t see why rappers have to be so polarizing. I feel like people had the same reaction when “Power Trip” dropped. People were either “oh, this is so corny” or “this is fire.” Idk, maybe because it’s so/too much music available, you either fuck with it or u don’t. There’s no room for middle ground anymore.
I think the thing with Cole is that you have to measure each single or released track individually and upon its own merit. Same thing with his mixtapes. I know that when it comes to considering an artist’s catalog, it has to be viewed in its totality, but with an artist who has only dropped one studio album. As for this track, it is actually pretty good. And I think it will sound even better in the context and sequence of an entire album. This will be one of those songs that gets put on repeat in the whip. Is the chorus dope? Not really. Does he often sound the same on EVERY song? Yes. Does his looped beats get tiresome? Yes. But I think J. Cole is one of the best lyricists in hip-hop right now and an artist who is trying to grow and expand without losing his core audience and his soul. In some ways, that places him in the same category as a Kendrick Lamar and certainly a Big KRIT. You won’t like everything he does as he finds his way, but if you let him breathe and grow, you will get a lot of quality music out of it.
This dude just needs to change his shit up once in awhile to keep it interesting. Kendrick and KRIT (two people he’s being compared to in these comments for some reason) have consistently been able to expand their subject matter and their aesthetic while remaining true to themselves. They’ve also taken creative risks while doing so. Cole can spit, no doubt. But that doesn’t mean I want him to be complaining about his come up on every fuckin track. The beat was boring to me as well. Dude’s gotta quit playing it safe all the time
To strike a compromise between Marcus’ and jeesh’s viewpoints: KRIT does need to do more, but he has improved/expanded his production. But still, songs like Meditate do in fact sound like they could have been on KRIT Wuz Here.
The reason I compared Cole to K.Dot and KRIT is because all three have large fanbases, have been labeled the “leaders of the New School” and the “hope of hip-hop”, they all made their entry level masterpieces in 2010, they’ve all done songs together, and musically, they’ve all made missteps in their experimenting with different sounds (although K.Dot less so). I like KRIT the most out of the three, but he has some songs that sound exactly the same and he certainly suffered the same debut debacle that Cole did. But with all three, they make songs that and albums that are undeniably some of the best music out right now for guys who are new to the rap limelight.
Give Cole credit for keeping the folks (at least on this site) talking. I don’t monitor comment counts for every post, but the last few Cole threads have to be close to the top in comparison to most of the other posts during that time. So love it or hate it, he’s got people talking.
As for the song, based on the comments, the title is quite ironic. He gets “plus 2” just for the B-More references. I could have done without the infusion of Biggie lyrics though.