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j-cole-truly-yours-2

I’m a believer in J. Cole; always have been, always will be. Dude is real. Many people shared that sentiment until his album came out. Then came the notion that J. Cole was leaning towards the mainstream; trying to be Drake – something along those lines. But those lines don’t matter anymore because they have been erased. The best part: it only took six tracks to do so. That’s efficiency at its finest.

It’s not the next platinum record. It’s not going to top charts, but Truly Yours 2 is a mixtape that assures J. Cole fans that, at the core, he is the same person today as he was in The Come Up days: A genuine, honest rapper.

He didn’t flip the ‘haters’ off. Nor did he resort to Twitter to proclaim his dominance in hip-hop, or his ‘realness.’ He did what all hip-hop artists should do: He worked hard in the studio and created music – good music. J. Cole handled his doubters through his actions not his words (Coincidentally, the act of making music comes partially in the form of speaking. Interesting paradox there… Anyways…).

I don’t understand why anyone would dislike J. Cole as a hip-hop artist. To each his own, but what’s not to like? Cole is versatile. Rapping or producing, Cole has proven to thrive. He’ll even sing a hook if he finds it appropriate. He’s no Marvin Gaye, but his hooks are sufficient. His catalog runs deep, and Truly Yours 2 is a solid addition to the list.

J. Cole opens the EP with soulful samples. He handled half of the production on the EP. The first soulful loop came from the phenomenal Lauryn Hill, off her track “Nothing Even Matters”. And he weaves homage to her into his first verse when he raps,

 

“This sample was yellin’ “loop me!”, Ms. Hill please don’t sue me.”

 

And in the hook when he sings,

 

“I think I need to let it go/

‘Cause Nothing Even Matters.”

 

Also, what I love about this opening track is J. Cole quickly addresses comparisons to drake when he raps,

 

“Cause I ain’t one of these rappers out here frontin’ like he got it, n***a/

I ain’t f***in’ got it n***a/

Throwing thousands in the strip club with Drizzy/

Difference is I’m throwing four, he’s throwing fifty.”

 

His realistic mindset brings him down to earth. It’s refreshing to see someone who remains level headed, rather than jumping on the defensive in attempt to dispel critics. Cole knows he hasn’t reached Drake’s status, and his ability to admit it reveals his humble side. Overall, the song is stripped down to J. Cole speaking his mind. Nothing fancy, just some smooth bars, homages, and clever references over solid production.

 

 

Cole keeps the soul rolling with a sample of The Manhattans. Then he picks up the pace with a funky beat in the track “Chris Tucker”. He increases the aggression in his delivery on that track with a bragadocious tone.

Cole keeps a fast pace with the track “Head Bussa,” and proves that he is still an strong lyricist. He plays on an old expression:

 

“She told me, boy you want your cake and eat it too?

I said it’s cake, that’s what you’re supposed to do.”

 

Wordplay and pop culture references? Check:

 

“They killed Saddam, now I wonder who’s sane/

How you balance being Batman, Bruce Wayne?”

 

 

It’s not too difficult to keep a listener engaged for six songs, but it still takes effort nonetheless. Cole did a good job of varying the pace. The soulful opening, upbeat middle tracks, and then slowing it back down a bit for “3 Wishes” keeps the listeners on their toes.

“3 Wishes” has a nice bass line running underneath the beat, with an occasional videogame sound effect trickling down over some looped keys. This is the only track where Cole did not handle production.

 

 

And just as you think the tempo will stay down, Cole brings it back up for the last song. He wraps up the mixtape with a track in which he co-produced, sang the hook on, and rapped on. J. Cole, A.K.A. Mr. Versatility, A.K.A. Yours Truly.

 

Mac Miller released the 2nd single yesterday off his upcoming album Watching Movies with the Sound Off. The new cut is called “Watching Movies” and is produced by Mac under the pseudonym Larry Fisherman. “S.D.S.” is better because of the production (Flying Lotus vs. Larry Fisherman? No-brainer). This song is alright. I’m not really a fan. However, I’m anxious for this album to drop because Pharrell produces a track on it, and Action Bronson and Tyler the Creator come on as guests. Can’t wait.

 

Loving the bass to begin this song; great way to start off this week’s Mixtape Monday. Casey Veggies is a solid rapper who has worked with Mac Miller and was a former member of Odd Future. This track dropped last week. Not his best, but still a solid cut.

 

 

Never really got into French Montana, but I’m a fan of this song. Sometimes the dubstep influenced beats compliment vocals, and I give it the nod here. The vocal samples are easy on the ears.

 

 

Favorite new track right here. Joey Bada$$ and Action Bronson. Jazz beat. I love pianos in hip-hop. Sidenote: I get really hyped whenever Action Bronson starts rapping. I’ve become a huge fan ever since seeing the video for “The Symbol.” Shit had me laughing.

 

 

It seems like Hova has been putting out music left and right lately. Recently, he vented his frustrations with the media over his trip to Cuba, and now a cut off the Great Gatsby soundtrack comes out. This one dropped last week as well. Jay attacks the beat; he ‘goes in’ so to speak, but I personally am not a fan of this one. But I do this for you guys (and girls), So I’m posting it for you to form your own opinion. Enjoy..?

 

 

OAKLAND STAND UPPPPP! The Hieroglyphics are BACK! This track, “Gun Fever” comes, “In the midst of a nationwide highly controversial debate about gun control,” As stated in the Youtube video’s description. This is what I love about the old school groups – whenever the speak, it’s worth listening to. Yes, I’m being that ‘golden age kid’ again. Can’t help it. And the scratches help bring that old school, street rap style apparent. This single will be on the group’s new album The Kitchen. Keep an eye out for it.

 

 

This next track proves the point I made above. Watch the first 20 seconds and you can already tell. This one features two more 90s rappers: RA & Talib Kweli. Up and coming producer, Mr. Green, put down a mouth watering beat, then The Rugged Man and Kweli spilled some nasty verses over it. More piano fingers in this one. And the hard scratches certify it an underground vibe. It’s been out a week and I’ve already repeated this one 27 times. I tally it on Itunes, no shame.

 

 

YO! That’s a rap. I have a gang of reviews coming out soon. I’m in the process of reviewing Ghostface Killah, Snoop Lion, & J. Cole’s new projects. My review for Indicud drops tomorrow. So stop by, spend some time with 92 ’til Infinity. Share your thoughts.