Four tracks into DiCaprio 2, J. Cole, shows up for a feature. Typically, on these sort of master-student collaborations, the less-experienced rapper’s strain is audible as he attempts to show he can hang. Here, it’s the opposite: J.I.D’s opening verse is so gleeful, so effortless and so fast, that when it comes Cole’s turn to rap, you can almost hear him brace for impact. Cole gets off a strong verse, and the song, “Off Deez,” is one of many standouts here. But you can just imagine them stepping out of booth, J.I.D pumped and ready for more; Cole relieved that he can still rap as well as his younger signee.
J.I.D’s confidence comes from years of work. Finally starting to get his due at the age of 28, Destin Route built up a head of steam in the old-fashioned way (circa 2007, or B.I.G., Before Instagram), releasing mixtape after mixtape until he turned heads with the first DiCaprio project, an EP released at the top of 2015. He signed with Cole’s label, Dreamville, in 2017 and his debut album, The Never Story, was released in March and converted rap fans all year mostly off the strength of the rapper’s technical ability and the delight that he takes in displaying it. That ability has been refined further on DiCaprio 2, but J.I.D’s second album has more to offer than simple rapping chops.
|6||Off Da Zoinkys||3:28|
|12||Just Da Other Day||3:49|