Review Summary: Mixtape???????
In the last 5 years of Hip Hop, we've seen the rise of Lil Wayne, Drake, Nicki Minaj, and most recently, Wiz Khalifa. There is one thing that each one of them has in common, their coming up through the mixtape game. Lil Wayne wasn't as popular as he is now until he dropped the massive Drought 3, The Suffix, and the critically acclaimed Dedication 2. Drake was known as the kid off of Degrassi until he dropped So Far Gone. Nicki Minaj's Beat Me Up Scotty was declared one of the best mixtapes of the year when it first came out. But the most recent example of this is Wiz Khalifa. Kush & Orange Juice is still one of my favorite mixtapes. All 4 artist also have something else in common, they all now have Number One Albums. While Tha Carter III, Thank Me Later, Pink Friday, and Rolling Papers might not be as critically acclaimed as their mixtape counterparts, they are still top sellers.
Out of all of those rappers that I just named, J. Cole is by far, the most talented rapper outta all of them, and he already possesses a great mixtape in The Warm Up. However, this might be the best body of work i've ever seen a rapper release free of charge. From the time the Intro starts, it builds up to the first gem of the album "Too Deep for the Intro". Sampling Mrs. Badu for the chorus, he speaks about his coming up in the game, the current hype he has in the game, and some information about his past (he admitted his first time was with a slut and it was for practice). He continues suit on "Before Im Gone". He speaks about his past, present, and future using witty metaphors, and outta this world wordplay. "2Face" is the most vivid description of his past that we have on this tape. He talks about his nosiness as a youth, violence in his upbringings, and a interesting life or death situation. These 3 tracks alone are enough to download this mixtape, but it only gets better from here.
Usually during a rap album, the rapper takes a break from talking about himself to talking about ladies. It usually is when the quality of the album drops and the slower tracks start to get boring. J. Cole follows suit, however, the quality of these tracks are on par with everything else on the mixtape. "You Got It", featuring Wale, is filled with metaphors, and great verses from both Cole, and Wale. Wale spits "im something like a fetus, cuz im not quite kickin". "Higher" talks about J. Cole meeting a girl he used to talk to during high school and contemplating if she is after his money or him. "In the Morning" puts Drake in his best ground, talking about females. J. Cole delivers as well to make a good song about a pretty simple topic. However, the one ok song on this album happens to be about a lady. Sampling Aailyah, J. Cole puts together "Best Friend", a song that he could have left off of the mixtape talking about a best friend of a girl giving advice on if she should break up with her man. But besides that one error, J. Cole keeps our full attention, even when he changes subject.
Besides concept tracks, J. Cole is a pretty good spitter as well, On tracks like "Back to the Topic, "Blow Up", "Villematic", and "The Autograph", J.Cole shows that he can hang with the best of them in the game. Lines like "Make the type of *** that make Jesus say Goddamn", "Gary Coleman just passed, life is short", and "Making my wishes come true, with no Genie man", there is so much confidence, and so much aggression, you get the feeling that J. Cole believes he the best right now, which he might be.
The album ends with "Farewell", a song talking about whether or not he will be remembered if he is gone, and telling haters that he'll be gone soon. A 5 star quality song for a 4.5 star quality mixtape. Besides "See World" & "Best Friend", this is a perfect mixtape, and i'm having a tough time finding another mixtape with the quality that this one possesses. Whether or not his album is of this quality, he already has his classic release down, now all we need is a solid follow-up from the future of the game...Mr. Jermaine Lamarr Cole.