J. Cole
Might Delete Later


0.5

Review

by Dakota West Foss STAFF
April 5th, 2024 | 187 replies


Release Date: 04/05/2024 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Should Delete Now.

For about a decade now, J Cole has been allowed to exist in this liminal space wherein he is considered one of the greats despite merely having only one more-than-good album under his belt in that timeframe with 2014 Forest Hills Drive. Other than that, his reputation has managed to skirt by on the backs of brilliant guest verses, while his albums rattled off a series of broken promises that true greatness was still on the way. Tomorrow never came though. 4 Your Eyez Only managed to make waves with a song proclaiming the joys of laundry, and KOD provided enough fodder for an additional dorm room bong hit to accompany a spirited viewing of Christopher Nolan’s Inception. If you can tell me a single song off of The Off-Season without looking, I will call you a liar. Still, I approached each album with clear eyes and open ears due to the popular sentiment that he is some sort of hip-hop sage that is among the best out there in rap’s current landscape, hoping against hope that the potential gold would finally be realized. Each time I was met with a lump of Cole. Might Delete Later comes off the heels of an electrifying callout verse from Kendrick Lamar, in which he denied Cole’s claim of there being a Big Three in hip-hop (Cole, Kendrick, and Drake), championing himself at the top, and it provides the clearest opportunity for Cole to distinguish himself in rap’s current hierarchy. To be clear, he does, but that position is damn sure not at the top.

It’s frankly shocking how unserious and indifferent Jermaine is throughout a dozen tracks, with bars and punchlines that scan like parody. One need not look further than the opener, “Pricey”, for Cole to proclaim he “Climbed up out the trenches as a shorty with intentions/to switch my whip as much as Rick and Morty switch dimensions.” In the second verse, he once again comes through with his trademark empty promise of greatness, “Breakin news, I’ve officially entered my prime/which is real interesting, this is the point where a rapper would typically start to decline.” This is after saying he’s “David Chapelle on his latest Netflix/Go ‘head try to cancel my shit.” Save your eyerolls for when he meets his Farrakhan shoutout quota, lest they roll out of your skull. Please keep in mind this is only the first track.

If we zoom out, it’s clear that Jermaine has been spending a little too much time with Drake and learned all the wrong lessons. “H.Y.B.” -which stands for “Hide Your Bitch” and, yes, that is a play on the ancient “Hide Your Kids/Hide Your Wife” meme- finds Cole borrowing Aubrey’s penchant of culture vulturing to briefly pretend that he’s Bri’ish, roight with a bonafide drill song. He says the quiet part out loud when he says “I keep forgetting I’m J Cole.” Bas and Central Cee make an appearance to lend credibility but I can’t tell you if that worked or not because I am frankly too awestruck by Jermaine delivering a strong contender for worst bar of all time:

A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H-I-J-K-M-N-O-P/that’s little me in the classroom askin’, “what’s L?”

Candidly, I have no idea what to say about that.

Song by song, verse by verse, bar by bar, you can feel the image of J Cole as hip-hop’s intellectual prophet to be stripped away and reveal himself as a bumbling idiot. He is the rap game Jordan Peterson. Cole went platinum with no features, yeah, just as Peterson wrote “12 Rules for Life'' solo. The comparisons don’t stop there, as Cole adds another tired form of bigotry in transphobia to match his past ableism (“I’m artistic, you n**** is autistic, r*tarded”) and homophobia (“My verbal AK slay f*ggots/okay, f*ggot? uh/Don’t be so sensitive”) when he bravely defies intolerant left:

They plead the fifth, I’m seeing hints of a trans fella
In cancel culture’s vicinity, he’s no killer, trust me
Beneath his chosen identity, there is still a pussy, period.

Which, while obviously clunky and stupid, is a bit rich considering he briefly identifies as a gangster on “3001” when he raps “thought I used superglue n—-, how this gun stick to my hand. Don’t worry though, he walks it back with the very next line, “I don’t even tote no pistol, but that *** sounded so hard.” Did it? It’s impossible not to get bogged down by the blackhole of these lyrics because there is a new embarrassment everywhere you look. Still on the same song, we get:

You know my zone, I live here at the top
Right now, I’m home alone, Macaulay cot
I keep the shotty cocked in ‘case somebody plot to rob me of this godly spot
Jermaine monstrous
Like that n—- off Jumanji, they know how he rock

But really, everything on the album leads up to the explicit response to Kendrick’s callout with the album’s closer. “7 Minutes” finds Cole bookending the album with another cartoon reference by saying that Kendrick “fell off like the Simpsons,” before such career-ending lines as “your first shit is classic” and “your arms might be too short.” To quote the name of the release that Jermaine admits was “massive,” ….Damn. Of course, there is more to the track but can we honestly hold it with any bit of respectability when he says To Pimp A Butterfly, one of the most revered albums of all-time, “put n—-s to sleep, but they gassed it”? All of this is, of course, over what sounds like a beat fit for youtube highlight reel of some upcoming draft prospect. Please forgive me for laughing when Stone Temple Pilots are namedropped before the track ends with yet another promise of Cole totally having better material on the way (“I’m fully loaded, n—---, I can drop two classics right now”). Sure, buddy. Let’s maybe start with one. My girlfriend lives in Canada too.

Might Delete Later is a miscalculation at every level and may prove in time to be his version of Chance the Rapper’s The Big Day. When the stage was set and the lights were bright, it will be remembered that Cole sunk into a dozen tracks of empty posturing and punchlines that border on character-suicide. It’s not hard to imagine these lyrics plastered over the image of him on his bike joining the likes of Donnie Darko as shorthand for “I’m 14 and this is deep”-style insults. At the time of writing, Might Delete Later was released thirteen hours ago. J Cole may want to consider “later” to be “right now.”



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user ratings (46)
1.8
poor


Comments:Add a Comment 
Odal
Staff Reviewer
April 5th 2024


2208 Comments

Album Rating: 0.5

This is one for the books

Ryus
April 5th 2024


37260 Comments


this dude has always been fucking terrible

bobbydylan
April 5th 2024


241 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

This album was such a mid, and that pathetic attempt at a Kendrick diss just makes it all the worse. There are people who think it was a good bar, and i think those folks are doing crack.

Hyperion1001
Emeritus
April 5th 2024


26271 Comments


never gonna listen but you know it sucks.

StormChaser
April 5th 2024


2156 Comments


Great review. Never understood the hype and supposed respect this dude has among supposed rap fans. Won't listen, but hey at least it's not trap

Faraudo
April 5th 2024


4677 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Why did we let J. Cole slide for so long?

Ryus
April 5th 2024


37260 Comments


"but hey at least it's not trap"

ngmi

YoYoMancuso
Staff Reviewer
April 5th 2024


18908 Comments


i know The Off-Season has a song with a Damian Lillard feature but i don't know what it's called

Hyperion1001
Emeritus
April 5th 2024


26271 Comments


remember when he went to Africa to try to hoop and he was so ass they sent him back after like 5 games lmao

Hawks
April 5th 2024


89540 Comments


Yeah this guy blowz.

bobbydylan
April 5th 2024


241 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

the fact that Future and Metro album is somehow overall better then this, is hilarious.

Hyperion1001
Emeritus
April 5th 2024


26271 Comments


future and metro have never been a part of an album worse than anything j Cole has ever released.

Ryus
April 5th 2024


37260 Comments


that sounds like just about the least surprising thing ever

Havey
April 5th 2024


12163 Comments


hate how cool it is to hate this guy now :/ i might have to start pretending like he's not the worst rapper of all time

Hyperion1001
Emeritus
April 5th 2024


26271 Comments


I don’t think it’s trendy I have never met a single person who likes j Cole.

Ryus
April 5th 2024


37260 Comments


either its been cool for a decade or im just ahead of the pack B)

Odal
Staff Reviewer
April 5th 2024


2208 Comments

Album Rating: 0.5

Legitimately don't think twitter has been this funny since the queen died

jrlikestodance
April 5th 2024


1190 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

The goat of mid

AlexKzillion
April 5th 2024


17435 Comments


jfc lmao

this dude's always been fucking wack i don't care what anyone says

AlexKzillion
April 5th 2024


17435 Comments


dude shitting on tpab as if he didn't do lamest most bland regurgitation of that album with for your eyez only

and then literally did the same thing with kod when he saw how successful damn was

now the dude is aping post-prime drake

you can't be part of the big 3 if you're constantly riding the coattails of the other 2 bro



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