By Joshua St. Hill
The year of 2016 has held many surprises in the music world. Anderson Paak took the world by storm, Lil Yachty emerged with his boat crew creating a hit that landed him a Sprite commercial, and Kanye West returned with multiple hits on his critically acclaimed album: The Life of Pablo. Yet the biggest surprise of all comes in the fourth quarter of this year by Mr. Sideline Story himself, J. Cole.
After going double platinum just two years ago with his no feature classic 2014 Forest Hills Drive, most fans believed we wouldn’t get another word from Cole in a while, especially after his announcement during his August tour stating “This will be my last tour for a while.” But instead of keeping the fans waiting for too long, Cole has come out of the blue again with another non-promoted, featureless album, and the two songs released have already stirred a bigger buzz than Donald Glover’s full EP!
The first track we hear from Cole’s new LP “Everybody Dies” takes shots at seemingly most of the newer rappers taking storm such as Lil Yachty, Lil Uzi Vert, Famous Dex, and many more. He does this subliminally with the lyrics: “A bunch of words and ain’t saying anything I hate these rappers, especially the ametuer eight week rappers, Lil’ whatever, just another short bus rapper.” Many who heard that bar quickly assumed it was about Yachty or Uzi, who both claimed many rappers have little in their names. To this most responded with, “If the shoe fits, wear it.”
Although the first track generated a lot of buzz the second one was the most controversial. Entitled “False Prophets,” Cole takes the role of a scolding parent over the smooth Joey Bad beat “Waves”. Presumed to be talking about Kanye West in the first verse and Wale in the second, Cole does his best to warn the two of how talented they were until they started settling for mediocre.
“Hearing his old tracks and knowing he won’t top it, False Prophet” was a shot taken at Kanye, who has, in many people’s opinion, fell off since his College Dropout days, Cole goes further by detailing how kanye has been biting many styles and not even writing his own verses. Many people who took this track as a diss aren’t seeing the insight that cole is trying to give, in a way it’s his own version of constructive criticism. Because without being blunt, or by sugarcoating opinions, some of our favorite rappers may never get back to the way they used to be.
Though we don’t know much about Cole’s upcoming release: 4 Your Eyez Only. We can safely assume this will be his most powerful release up to date. Becoming more free in his decisions, and more of a master musically in his production, Cole is pulling no punches with his fourth studio release on December 9th.
You can look forward to my review on the article later this month on The Hoofprint’s website.