It’s odd, but even with The Fall Off on the horizon, one of the most anticipated J. Cole projects in recent months wasn’t the North Carolina rapper’s official album, but instead it was a mixtape created by DJ Critical Hype that promised to mash up some of Cole’s most beloved vocals with production from Virginia Beach hitmakers The Neptunes. Now, after months of teasing the mash-up project, Critical Hype’s In Search Of… Cole has arrived.
Clocking in at 30 tracks, In Search Of… Cole draws from all over both acts’ respective catalogs, from J. Cole’s first mixtape, The Come Up, all the way up to his most recent solo release, KOD, and incorporates fan-favorite freestyles, singles, and deep cuts, with songs like “Forbidden Fruit,” “Lights Please,” and “Love Yourz” set to classic Neptunes beats like “Let’s Get Blown,” “Come Close,” and “Hot Damn.”
The reason behind the crispiness of the blends is simple; Critical Hype was given unprecedented access to Cole’s original vocals after reaching out to Dreamville president Ibrahim Hamad. Critical Hype told Genius, “I thought it would be nice to give a different perspective of Cole’s style and flows over different production. Cole was pictured in the studio with Pharrell at the beginning of his career. They were supposed to work on something. I don’t know why it never came to fruition, but I thought it would be dope to hear Cole over some classic Neptunes beats.”
Now, if only we could get J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar in the studio…
Check out the full project above.