Revenge of the Dreamers
Artist: J. Cole
January 28 was a massive day for J. Cole. He marked his 29th birthday by announcing a partnership between the powerhouse Interscope Records and his own Dreamville Records, on top of a newly released mixtape from Dreamville.
Later that night, his headlining performance at a sold-out Madison Square Garden included surprise guest Jay Z performing a few collaboration tracks. A piece of hip hop history was then gifted – Jay Z gave his original chain from when he first founded Roc-A-Fella Records to J. Cole.
Kendrick Lamar then came onstage as another surprise guest to perform some songs from good kid, m.A.A.d city, and to give praise to J. Cole. “He was one of the first people to accept me in the music business,” Lamar said, “This is not a regular rapper friendship; this is my brother.”
With these votes of confidence, J. Cole had to be feeling on cloud nine. But how does the mixtape hold up?
Though he is considered to ‘play it safe’ relative to other modern rappers, J. Cole still offers crisp lyricism and production on all of his efforts, and members of the Dreamville group, consisting of KQuick, Bas and Omen, manage to hold their own.
KQuick may only show up on the hook and background of the track “Lit,” but his silvery voice singing, “Do you believe in love?” and “What’s your drug?” provide an interesting contrast to lines like, “I never thought that I would fuck Irish hoes.”
Bas spits about New York in “Golden Goals,” about money, weed and girls in “Ceelo With the G’s” and joins J. Cole and Omen on “Bitchez” to talk about pulling even more girls.
Omen provides the surprise of the mixtape in expanding from these conventional themes expected to be associated with a J. Cole project to talk about more personal and introspective matters on “Motion Picture” and “Henny Flow,” which adds an additional layer to his represented persona on the previously mentioned “Bitchez.”
All in all, this is another relatively safe mixtape from a prominent artist expected to put out material like this. J. Cole might not win any new fans, but interest should definitely increase for his supporting crew of KQuick, Bas and Omen, as they hopefully explore new territory with Interscope in the future.
The production, flow, and lyricism are all quite good for what the mixtape represents, but what it represents is content that has already been explored by countless other artists.