Listening Session: J. Cole – The Warmup

J. Cole

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Download The Warm Up Here

This cat’s been getting some buzz for months and I kept turning my attention elsehwere. So when I saw that his latest dropped this Monday I decided to see what all the fuss is about. I didn’t know much about dude other than he’s from North Carolina and he’s the first Roc Nation signee. I don’t know the specifics behind the deal but he had to have impressed Hov to get that big cosign. I tried not to get gassed but I knew he had to have something special to get noticed by one of the greats.

Well, dude can definitely rhyme. “Water Break,” “Royal Flush,” “Dead Presidents II” and “Last Call (this one is also dope because he explains how he came up at the end)” got some of his most potent punchlines and flows on the whole tape. Battle raps aside he seems to appeal to the everyman in his lyrics. Most of his material on the tape talk about being the woman getting, fly rhyme slanging underdog rapper dealing with life’s problems and his ascent towards fame. Such is evident in “Knock Knock” as he ties all these themes in a song that clocks in at just under 2 minutes.

J. Cole The Warmup Back Cover

Another thing, this cat says he’s from NC but he sure doesn’t sound like it. Maybe it’s me but he coulda said he came up anywhere outside of the Mason-Dixon line and I wouldn’t question it. Perhaps the southern drawl skipped him when he was coming up.

Apparently he produces his own songs too. I appreciate the talent but I had an issue with some of the beats. They’re not bad by any means but it’s nothing astounding. There are some standouts on the production side though like “I Get Up,” “Dollar and  a Dream II”  and “Losing My Balance.” Still the tape’s sound maintains a consistent vibe for the most part. This is pretty much chill-out music aside from a few tracks.

In closing I thought The Warmup served as a great primer to J. Cole’s skills as a rapper/producer. I took the liberty of dealing with imeem’s uploader again so you can listen to it before you D/L. Check it out and lemme know what you think…


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