Tuesday, May 14, 2013

From Cole 2 You

Truly Yours 2

J. Cole

After multiple listening sessions for J. Cole’s latest ‘Truly Yours 2’ mix tape, I find the six-track EP to be both entertaining and intriguing for his upcoming album. His latest LP will be released on June 25th, and is titled Born Sinner. Although Cole insists that the lead track, Cole Summer, on ‘Truly Yours 2’ is “not a preview, of what the album is going to bring you,” he is able to recapture the feeling associated with his earlier works such as ‘The Warm Up’ and ‘Friday Night Lights.

Right from the get go, Cole Summer features an overly honest J. Cole speaking about the worries and concerns he has as an artist. He discusses the possibility of his next album being a flop, and repeatedly compares his rap career to Drake’s rap career. Although Jermaine spills his heart out, he never once appears to genuinely doubt his abilities. His self-confidence still finds a way to prevail throughout the track’s solemnness. The J. Cole-produced instrumental effortlessly appeals to the ear, as the entire cut is relaxed from the drum pattern to the soulful samples.

Young Jeezy assists the second track on the EP, Kenny Lofton. This witty track, with an exceptionally clever hook, essentially addresses how celebrities only receive heartfelt attention when they are at the peaks of their careers. “Kenny Lofton, you feeling my pace, they only care about a n**** when he stealing a base.” The instrumental is slightly unfitting for a Young Jeezy appearance, and his stacked vocals do not cleanly make the transition from Cole’s smooth delivery. With the exception of Jeezy’s potential misplacement, the track delivers as one of the most creative efforts we have heard from Cole in quite some time.

The third track, Chris Tucker, is the clear club-joint on the tape that feature none other than 2 Chains himself. Despite the catchiness of the chorus, J. Cole appears slightly non-genuine in his approach on this one. The beat does not correctly match Cole’s delivery, and the lyrics do not meet Cole’s intelligent expectations. The song is not all bad though for those looking for a song to work out to, as it is definitely the most upbeat approach on ‘Truly Yours 2.’

Head Bussa is a slightly cleverer track that possesses a confident tone. The obvious downside to this song is the unmotivated, annoying hook. The chorus does not comfortably fit the instrumental, and definitely does not meet J. Cole’s standards for hook making. With the hook to the side though, this track features a progressive Cole flow.

3 Wishes is an intelligent cut from the mix tape, featuring a heartfelt, smooth J. Cole. He relives his childhood struggles and tarnished relationships with friends over the years. It bears the same tone as his Can I Holla At Ya from the first ‘Truly Yours EP.’ Although a somewhat repetitive message from Cole, this track is enjoyable and smart.

The final track on ‘Truly Yours 2’ is actually Bas’ song Cousins, featuring J. Cole. All in all, Cole’s final approach before the release of Born Sinner delivers on key levels, and excites fans for what is to come. We do need to hear a stronger, hungrier J. Cole on his sophomore effort, and it sounds as though he is well aware of that. On June 25th, all of our questions involving J. Cole’s status in hip-hop will be answered. Until then, enjoy the cold summer.
Truly yours,

Seth Kaplan

RRR score: 8/10

Rap's Acid Trip

Acid Rap

Chance the Rapper

So, let us hop in our time machines and take a trip back to the early 2000s; let us grab a young Kanye West and mix him with a mid 2000s Lil Wayne. Then, let us implement the drug habits of Kid CuDi and the energy of Twista. What do we get? How about Chance the Rapper?

Chance the Rapper introduces himself formally to the hip-hop world with the star-studded, high-powered mix tape Acid Rap. On the Good Ass Intro, Chance raps frantically over an intensely soulful backdrop. It sounds like the modern-day version of the old Roc-A-Fella classics we grew to know and love. As soon as he starts attacking the track, we hear a new voice unlike anything we have heard in hip-hop for quite some time. He comes off as a faster rapping Lil Wayne with an even higher pitched, loonier voice. Lyrically, his mind is tightly in tact, despite the many drugs he claims to use in his daily repertoire. “Rap’s just made me anxious and acid made me crazy…” is nothing short of a bold statement to start the masterpiece that follows over the course of the mix tape.

As the mix tape moves onward, he has effortless bouts of fun over some extremely upper-end production. He dominates Pusha Man, where he showcases his rap versatility in terms of his ability to glide on the track. On the already popular Cocoa Butter Kisses, he receives a special guest verse from none other than Chicago native, Twista himself. The Chicago influences do not die at any point on the mix tape, as he has no problems staying true to his home sound.

On the following tracks, Chance the Rapper continues his lyrical assault. He gets some assistance from other up-and-comers like Childish Gambino and Ab-Soul. Ab-Soul’s verse provides the perfect transition from Chance’s trance-like flow on Smoke Again.

From the Good Ass Intro to the Good Ass Outro, Chance the Rapper proves that he is here to stay. He may be the biggest underdog in the game, but he may also provide the biggest upside from any up-and-coming artists in the industry. He is fresh, he is trippy, he is smart, and he is different. He is really, truly different. Chance the Rapper is more than just a rapper; he might just be the future of rappers period.

Written by Seth Kaplan

RRR Score: 9/10