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Spin: J. Cole’s Friday Night Lights


I reviewed J. Cole’s Friday Night Lights mixtape for Spin’s website and it’s close to excellent but well, really annoying too. I’ve not really talked about J. Cole at all, so I’ll use this brief review as an excuse to talk about the guy, so here goes…

Friday Night Lights kept reminding me of Krit Wuz Here and not in a good way. The differences between Big K.R.I.T and J. Cole are non-existent. Both guys are very good at rapping, but are better producers, but are a little too good at rapping for anybody to reasonably tell them to stick to beatmaking, so they go on and inexplicably, they’re seen as the second coming of this or that. Both are insightful, empathetic rappers too willing to martyr themselves and shamelessly promote and mythologize their struggle.

When I listen to both of their album-like mixtapes, I enjoy it for awhile and then feel the need to start skipping around or my head’ll just explode from all the East Coast lyricism meets Southern rap melodicism masquerading as that new, new shit. Next. The only difference really, is that Big K.R.I.T happens to indulge in a lot more ignorance, which makes him “cooler” and more appealing in the contrarian rap nerd circles I run in. J. Cole’s actually better though.

Written by Brandon

December 20th, 2010 at 5:07 am

Posted in J. Cole, Spin

16 Responses to 'Spin: J. Cole’s Friday Night Lights'

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  1. Eeeewww no. Cole is a blander version of the know-it-all, everyman Wale, Drake model that everyone deems the next big thing. I understand the KRIT connection, but krit has shit on his side. He sounds like pimp c, he can rap like bun in his prime, his beats bang instead of being some shit joe budden would rap over. I fucks with Krit because he reminds me of a slightly more introspective ugk.


    20 Dec 10 at 5:31 am

  2. Cole is just a boring dude who can rap, so he raps about “real shit” calmly, trying to fool mufuckas into thinking hes deep. Sorry if i sound like a hater, but….i hate this dude


    20 Dec 10 at 5:35 am

  3. Marcus-
    Krit is boring too. Nothing to say. I of course, said all this to get a debate started, but I think the same people in love with Krit are really under-selling Cole. Buddenzzz is not rapping over “Before I’m Gone” or “Farewell” by the way…


    20 Dec 10 at 5:41 am

  4. Krit raps with alot more conviction and intensity likes he believes in what hes saying. by result, I believe in what hes saying. Cole just soullessly rhymes and combined with the bland beats makes him feel like the blueprint for the boring everyman. theyre essential the same rapper, but i can FEEL krit.


    20 Dec 10 at 6:34 am

  5. Sidenote: I`ve come to realize that I prefer your blog in this format. Id rather comment on tumblr, but nobody really uses the disqus thing and i dont wanna be the only weirdo commenting on shit, when the REAL discussions will be over here


    20 Dec 10 at 6:47 am

  6. Big Krit is pretty boring, doesn’t mean he can’t make a good song or two, but for an entire album/mixtape I grow really tired of his rapping. Thus I like songs he does with The Alumni or a song like “Glass House” or “No Wheaties”, where there are some other rappers on the track meaning that Big Krit can shine on one verse instead of just being dull on the entire song.

    Good call, on pointing out the producing ability of both of these rappers, but the annoying fact that they are rapping too well to really expand their reach of production. There are plenty of rappers, who would sound great over Big Krit beats, but I doubt they will spread beyond himself and those rappers close to him, and that is sort of a shame.


    20 Dec 10 at 2:49 pm

  7. Agree with Marcus’ point about “feeling” Krit, even if his themes feel a little recycled at times. Have you listened to “The Last King,” the mixtape before KRIT Wuz Here? Even though KRIT Wuz Here is probably the superior project, I think his urgency really comes out more on that first tape


    20 Dec 10 at 6:08 pm

  8. The Last King > KRIT Wuz Here, IMO

    dunno but on TLK I found him exciting but on KWH he’s boring to me, like Brandon says he’s got nothing to say really. Also the mixing on the former is just so relentless, the entire mixtape have this impatientent vibe that makes it feel u know, “urgent”.


    27 Dec 10 at 1:56 pm

  9. “The only difference really, is that Big K.R.I.T happens to indulge in a lot more ignorance, which makes him “cooler” and more appealing in the contrarian rap nerd circles I run in. ”

    are you for real


    29 Dec 10 at 9:44 pm

  10. No, it’s a big joke. Big KRIT is just so much more interesting and creative and humane than J. Cole, it isn’t that post-UGK ripoff rap is the new boom-bap underground real shit or anything…


    29 Dec 10 at 9:50 pm

  11. there are so many assumptions w your assertions in that sentence i dont even know where to begin

    1) who is saying they like him more because hes ignorant? link to evidence (or are you mind-reading?)

    2) how is krit ‘more ignorant’

    3) arent the substantial stylistic differences marcus described above more likely explanations for ppl’s preferences

    4) maybe if jcole didnt rap w/ the style of a celery stick people would like him more

    5) krit’s tape is occasionally generic & ive said as much in my pieces on his work, but moments like ‘children of the world’ ‘gumption’ ‘moon and stars’ have moments of strong personality, depth & unique style that transcends the pimp/t.i. influence & im not surprised that his level of buzz has increased since he released two of those as singles


    29 Dec 10 at 10:06 pm

  12. Drake-
    Knowing full well that a discussion with you is a waste of fucking time…

    Well, I didn’t say people like him because he’s ignorant at all, I said it makes him more appealing. I’d say K.R.I.T’s references to pimping, etc. mixed with a tendency towards distinctly Pimp C-tinged attitude and aggression makes him more “ignorant.”

    See, I don’t think Marcus differences explain it much. I think you could switch those around for the most part, and be talking about why Cole > KRIT.

    Plenty of people like J. Cole, so that isn’t the issue. Celery stick made me lol as I looked at this at work though.

    Let’s look at this another way: They both suck equally.

    What I’m mainly thinking about is this tendency in hip-hop fandom right now, for there to be a very tangible party line.

    So one side, thinks J. Cole is the shit man and he’s so much better than all these other guys and he’s saying some real shit. And the other side thinks he’s a cornball. The cornball side makes jokes about guys like Cole, etc. and pokes fun at backpacker, traditionalist types, and then thinks KRIT’s something else. Which, he isn’t.


    30 Dec 10 at 5:29 am

  13. sorry im ‘wasting your time’ but i have trouble understanding the mindstate of someone drawing up strawmen & then ascribing motives to them that they dont actually express & i think its rhetorically dishonest


    2 Jan 11 at 12:09 am



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