J.Cole is considered one of the few artists who remains true to the art of hip-hop for many millennials. His 2014 album, "Forest Hill Drive", recently went double platinum without any feature artists. He is the first hip-hop artist in 25 years to achieve this feat. Considering the fact that the genre itself is about 36 years old, this gives him room to gloat. Yet, he typically shies away from the glitz of stardom and remains humble and low key. That was until last Friday when two new songs and visuals surfaced onto the internet.
After nearly two years of no new music from the MC, anything was worth a listen. The buzz around the songs grew from whispers to full blown debates in the comment section online. It was clear that J.Cole did more than just release a few new songs with accompanying visuals. He also dropped some heavy truth nukes that have the hip hop community shook.
The first of the surprise double release starts with "Everybody dies." The song begins with a familiar Minnie Riperton sample. The drums kick in and you know this will be an instant J.Cole hit. As he cruises on the back of someone's car, halfway through the 3-minute song his easy going flow turns into a bar for bar rapper callout.
"Clap at the fake deep rappers.
The OG gatekeeper rappers,
The would you take a break please rappers.
Bunch of words and ain't saying' shit,
I hate these rappers."
It's clear that Cole is the new wave of rap music and is not having it. This disdain for the mundane continues into the second song "False Prophets."
On this song, Cole does what he does best; poetically illustrates stories with openness and vulnerability over a Hip Hop groove. Many have called the first verse of the track a diss to Kanye West and his ego-driven career. However, unlike "Everybody Dies", J.Cole remains sincere as he raps seemingly about the star, admitting that West was once his hero, and that is has been hard to watch him spiral in his public meltdowns.
The song is full of his struggles as a star. From watching his idols fall to leveling with peers who carry too much negativity in their hearts. In the third verse, he offers a self-reflection, hinting at some moments of insecurity that I'm sure we all can relate to.
"My lowest moments came from trying' too hard.
To impress some nigga that couldn't care less if I'm on."
J.Cole's new album "4 Your Eyez Only" is slated to drop on December 9 just in time for the holidays. The track list has been revealed, but neither of these songs are listed on it. And perhaps, it was intentional. To jog the conversation in a direction favorable to him, or he could have simply wanted to get a few things off of his chest before we enter a new year. Regardless, it's worth the listen.
Bri Simpson is a Creative Writer for AB+L Radio. Check out her website for more of her work.