Well well well, look what J. Cole just dropped off in our laps yesterday. It feels like it has been forever since Cole released his critically acclaimed album, and I have been patiently waiting to see what he would do with his second project. Well it’s the time to prepare everyone for it’s arrival. I love that while some artists who are more commercially successful (Drake) would drop a music video on Grammy night while Jermaine decides to drop a dope project that seemingly comes out of nowhere for no other reason to prep you for his album. Before we go into the project, it is important to note that none of these songs have been mastered.
1. Holla At You
This song has Cole reminiscing on important people in his life that he has lost touch with. The first verse is the woman he left behind, and the bond they share no matter how much time has passed. The second verse is to his step dad who he feels betrayed by. The third verse is to his homie who has grown in a different direction. He allows you to think that maybe his boy has become addicted to some drug, but it ends up he has had his first born and isn’t living the life he used to. I like this a lot.
2. Crunch Time
This song is the thoughts of a young person who feels like their back is against the wall and the thoughts that invade their mind. He does an excellent job of describing the eveolution of a young person who is trying to do the right thing, but eventually lose the battle that comes with fighting your own evils. The production is amazing, it reminds me of some older Bone Thugs, but I can’t put my finger on exactly why.
3. Rise Above
If you weren’t sure where Cole stands in the game with the story telling, this song will show you that he and Kendrick Lamar are the top two with everyone else well below them. First verse was about a young woman trying to fix the issues in her relationship, just to find that he hasn’t been faithful. The second and final is about a woman who loses faith in the youth although she is a teacher. Great song!!!
4. Tears For ODB
This is a dedication to Ol’ Dirty Bastard, but even more important it is about the falls of young black men, and the mentality that we have. I think this might be my favorite song from this project so far. I’m not sure if I can do this song any justice by describing it. All I can say is this is what Cole does better than any other artist in the game right now. “It’s 2012 and we still killing ourselves”.
5. Stay (2009)
The instrumentation sounds like it was tailored made for a rapper like Curren$y. Still Cole never sounds uncomfortable. He paints a perfect picture of the way he interacts with different women who play different roles in his life (wifey, girlfriend, and mistress). Although it is short, it does a great job leaving you wanting more, which is how you want to end a project like this.
If this is just a taste of what Cole is offering, I think he has an amazing album coming. I loved my initial feeling for The Sideline Story, but I hated the way it aged with me. Part of that reason was the fact that I had heard so much of the album before it was actually released. This has raised my expectations of his sophomore project.