unofficial import on black vinyl - In the space of two mixtapes, J. Cole has toured the world, attracted Jay-Z as his mentor and been hailed as the messiah, saviour, redeemer and more. And while hip hop doesn’t need saving, it’s certainly true that this man is a remarkably anti-contemporary prospect in relation to his peers.
His two previous mixtapes – 2009’s The Warm Up and the following year’s Friday Night Lights – stood out for going against the grain of modern MCs twice over, with a plethora of unexpected patterns steadily becoming his signature. In spite of his casting as the familiar underdog, Cole’s reality is refreshingly gimmick-free; while Drake’s charm relies on his foot-in-mouth tendencies, this rapper’s multi-layered introspection offers more depth and focus across a longer time-span.
Production-wise, Cole aims to ape the mid-90s – and the golden era following Dr Dre’s The Chronic LP of 1992 is referenced throughout, Nobody’s Perfect being a particularly strong example. Be it the double drums or his Nas-like obsession with turning bad into good, these cuts display Cole at his best – brutally delivered rhymes, multi-layered instrumentation and heavy, heavy hooks.
|2||Dollar And A Dream III|
|3||Can't Get Enough|
|7||Mr. Nice Watch|
|9||In The Morning|
|13||Rise And Shine|