Jermaine Cole, better known as J.Cole, has had an interesting, yet slightly underwhelming, career in Hip Hop so far. Every since he came onto the scene with his first mixtape, The Come Up, the stars seemed to slowly align in his favor and pave the way for him to become one of Hip Hop’s next biggest stars. He was cosigned and then signed to Roc Nation by Jay-Z, had a number of relatively well placed features, including a standout verse on one of Kanye’s G.O.O.D. Friday series tracks, made the XXL Freshmen cover in 2010, and released the mostly excellent and well received Friday Night Lights mixtape before beginning promo for his debut album. It was safe to say that the Hype had begun to build.
Then Cole World: The Sideline Story dropped and that’s when things started to get confusing, to say the least. He’d released Who Dat as the lead single, but to a mediocre reception and then followed that up with Workout, a song that guys seem to hate and girls seem to love. Can’t Get Enough was a stronger single, especially leading up the album’s release but the album itself was a mixed bag at best besides positive reviews from the critics. Older songs like Lights Please and In the Morning made the album, the much hyped collaboration with Jay-Z turned out to be more of a EDM sounding record, and there really wasn’t anything on the album that made listeners glad to see Cole finally get up off of the bench so to speak (Sidenote: Besides Nobody’s Perfect, that song is still great to this day) Despite all that, Sideline Story still was a number one debut and went gold in less than three months.
After that though, Cole seemingly all but disappeared from the public eye for what seemed like a year, his name only popping up on the occasional feature or in the rumors about his and Kendrick’s collaboration project which has yet to see the light of day.(Did I mention that pointless beef he had with Diggy Simmons, in which Diggy Simmons
lowkey ethered him? Naa never mind.)
Whatever personal reasons or creative rut he may or may not have been stuck in during that period of time seemed to pass when he suddenly sprung back to life in fall of 2012, releasing a new record and announcing the title and release date of his sophomore album, despite it not having any official single at the time of announcement. Unsurprising to anyone,except maybe J.Cole, that release date has since been pushed back.
Last Week However, Cole surprised the Internet world with a new EP by the title of Truly Yours, to tide fans over until the release of his next album. Let’s see if it was good enough to get the people talking again.
1.) Can I Holla At Ya?- It’s hard to tell when exactly these particular set of songs were recorded but it’s clear that Cole has gotten better at storytelling and creating production backdrops to keep the listener engaged. A very introspective record about a lost love, an absentee father, and a rocky friendship
2.)Crunch Time- Crunch Time suffers from a weak hook and shares similarities with Can I Holla At Ya in terms of overall feel. However, it does paint a picture that most people, who aspire to make the impossible possible, can relate to.
3.) Rise Above- By the time Rise Above comes around, as a listener you can clearly see that J.Cole was going for a certain feel/tone with this EP. The first verse is good but the second verse is probably the strongest one on this EP. The line about “Ain’t No hope for the youth/ Now ain’t that the truth/ when all your role models either rap or they hoop” is just an example of some raw, high quality lyricism.
4.) Tears For ODB- This track just doesn’t really resonate in terms of beat or lyrics. It’s not bad, just not particularly memorable. I’d say it was skippable.
5.) Stay- Apparently Stay was recorded back in 2009, back when Cole still had something to prove, so it’s not a surprise that Stay is a pretty dope record, and completes the soul theme that’s present throughout the EP.
Overall, Truly Yours is much too short to really pick apart and get too overly analytical. On one hand, it severely lacks any type of diversity in sound, meaning that you’re not going to find another “Too Deep For the Intro” or “Blow Up” on here. On the other hand, maybe that was the point. If J. Cole was trying to prove to the world that he still has the potential to be recognized as a great Hip-Hop artist,at least from a lyrical standpoint, then Truly Yours definitely gives good reason as to why that the possibility is still potentially there. I give it a 3.5 out of 5.
Tags: Born Sinner, Can I Holla At Ya, EP, J Cole, Miss America, Stay, Truly Yours, Truly Yours Review | Categories: Music, Reviews