J. Cole – Friday Night Lights [Review]

It has been a while since Jermaine Cole released his critically acclaimed The Warm Up. Since then the young emcee has only grown his fan following. He has garnered recognition from some of the worlds illest rappers of all. Nas has given him props along with Drake, and of course his boss Jay-Z. The last time Cole released a mixtape he came and metaphorically sucker punched us; no one saw him coming. This go around it is very obvious that everyone is going to be expecting a knockout punch. Can he live up to the expectations? Lets take a look…

1. Friday Night Lights (Intro)
Produced by J. Cole
This is the intro. I listened to it once and skipped everytime after that. J. Cole talks over a nice beat.

2. Too Deep For The Intro
Produced by J. Cole
This is a dope track I wish he would have put this as the intro. J. Cole produced this soulful beat that samples Erykah Badu’s “Didn’t Cha Know” and dropped some really nice lines on it.

Should I admit that a slutty bitch was my first smash?
Wasn’y experience so nah I didn’t wear it out
Always thought my first time would be with someone I cared about
But being a virgin was something to be embarrassed bout
I used that ass for practice….

3. Before I’m Gone
Produced by J. Cole
Jermaine produces another excellent beat. The thing that I first notice is that J. Cole has really shown the versatillie of his production from The Warm Up to this tape. He speaks about some of the haters form his city in the third verse as well.

Cole the wrong one bringin the city shine
All he ever doin is paintin’ pictures of crime
Tellin’ stories of pain
Paintin’ pictures of dope
Bitch if you listenin’ I’m paintin pictures of hope

4. Back To The Topic (Freestyle)
Produced by Mario Winans, Carmelo Famouss, & Bryan Michael Cox
This is a track that came out right after The Warm Up. It’s dope but nothing new.

5. You Got It
Featuring Wale; Produced by J. Cole
This song is a song that could have made a big impact on the radio. It features Wale and is produced by J. Cole once angian. Here he pays his respects to Biggie by using a vintage line on the hook(“Girl you damn right/If your head right/I’ll be there every night”). Wale also comes along and adds a really nice verse too (“Hundred k in 22 hours/See money talks, you mutha fuckers is Boomhower”)

6. Villematic
Produced by Bink=
J. Cole tackles one of the best songs from Kanye’s G.O.O.D. Friday series & My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Although I think I like Kanye’s version better, Cole World made an unbelievable verse with it. He spoke on his fears with his debut with lines like,

What story is my audio theatre gon tell
I know my debut will ship, but is it gon sell?
I guess it’s in God’s hand’s
I make the type of pieces that make Jesus say God damn.

He also spoke on his status amongst his fans:

Ya’ll giving me mixed feeling’s like you married a white woman
One minute I’m over-rated
Next minute I’m the savior
You hate it
Before you played it
I already forgave ya.

This is a stand out track. He covers so many different topics, yet does not seem scatter minded at all.

7. Enchanted
Featuring Omen; Produced by Omen & J. Cole
If you remember The Warm Up track that had these two on it you are expecting a really deep song that should make us think. That is exactly what we got with “Enchanted”. Both artist spit that real rap, but J. Cole comes through with the last verse that is just utterly crazy.

It seems like niggas either feel ya or they try and kill ya
I face the sky and hope to God aint acting unfamiliar
You play whatever cards he deal no matter how peculiar
They tell me that its God’s will, I’m asking God will ya
Heal a nigga from this pain, momma smoking cocaine as it rains out
Am I to blame, try to stay sane so I came out-side
Where they rock with them thangs out
To clear my mind at the same time they blew that boys brains out
But will it change, its like niggas is free but our minds still in the chains
Brothers killing eachother, the blood spill its a shame
Will it ever slow up
A lot of niggas getting older but they never grow up
And do they son’s like they fathers did and never show up
Don’t even cry about it, just another episode of life
Watch the season nigga no re-runs
The devil buying soul’s nigga no refunds
Man, don’t let the city get ya
Fuck the horoscopes know the ropes like a wrestler
If them bullets wet ya bet ya momma need a tissue
Your face on the front of our shirts screaming we miss ya
Another day, another song, a mother prays
Another gone
But still we play like aint nothing wrong
Like aint nothing wrong
Cause aint nothing wrong
I’m not as fast, I’m not as tall
But before I pass
I gotta ball
I gotta ball
I gotta ball
Nigga I gotta ball

This is one of my early favorites.

8. The Blowup
Produced by J. Cole
This is somewhat of a surprise. I thought that this was originally slated to be the second single off of J. Cole’s debut. Either way it is another dope record from the Carolina native. It’s crazy but I haven’t heard a song I don’t like yet.

9. Higher
Produced by J. Cole
This is another track that I heard way back. It speaks on the women of the industry and what it is they are looking for ($$$). I really like this one too.

10. In The Morning
Featuring Drake; Produced by L&X Music And Aramis
This may be the most anticipated tracks from the body of work. Drizzy and Cole World have often been compared to each other and recently have been rumored to be throwing subliminal disses towards one another. Well this track and the tour these have coming up together should resolve the beef rumors. The song is a smooth song that is dedicated towards the ladies which right up Drakes alley. J. Cole does a nice job with the track, but Drake is obviously more comfortable on a song completely geared towards the ladies.

11. 2Face
Produced by Syience
This is an amazing track. Cole explains the hume psychy better than anyone I have ever heard. It is simple really every person has two sides to them. He utterly kills this beat that Syience delivers. The last verse is deep, a lot of guys can relate to this.

Cold world got me sneezing
Wrote this when I was broke so hey I guess we even
Throwing blows fighting demons trying to stop from bustin semen
In an unfamiliar bitch I know my niggas feel this shit
How could I fuck her raw? And I just met the hoe
My dick took over it ain’t never felt this wet before
I’m stressing in my mind but its way to late to stop it
Make this shit so bad, I had a condom in my pocket

12. The Autograph
Produced by J. Cole

Shout out to the bootleggers who supply my shit
for the fans online trying to find my shit
and to the niggas listening but wont buy my shit
and catch me in the street wanna ride my dick
y’all n-ggas is the worst, see me like
“J. Cole homie, can you sign my burnt CD”
nigga please, an album ten dollars
you act like it’s ten g’s
this food for thought cost the same as 2 numbers three’s
I think he said it the best.

13. Best Friend
Produced by Timberland
This is an instrumental that was used in Missy Elliot’s “Best Friend” featuring Aaliyah. J. Cole does a nice job with the track. He adds two verses to the Aaliyah’s hook. It works well, but it’s a little lackluster opposed to the rest of the project.

14. Cost Me A Lot
Produced by J. Cole
Here we have J. Cole iced up. He normally doesn’t do braggadocios songs, but here he decided to get on it. He has spoken in past interviews about being able to do conscious songs, then turn around and be able to do ignorant shit too. Well at first this seems to be the latter. a\After listening to it though you will notice that it is far from being the average bling bling track.

Remember when I did a show with Waka Flocka Flame
Felt naked cause the boy rocked bout a dozen chains
Guess we rock a lot of ice cause we got a lot of pain
That’s 5 hundred years of selling, I’m tryna tell em
Jacob the Jeweller is cooler now he a felon

15. Premeditated Murder
Produced by J. Cole
This is another track that has been out for quite some time before the tape ever materialized. I remember thinking, “Wow if this didn’t make his album, he is either dumb for not including it or his album may be classic worthy”. I hope it is a classic, but for the tape it fits in nicely. He is spitting about his plan of killing the game (premeditated murder) succeeding this far, but also how it has changed him to this point. He seems to really be concerned with how his woman is taking the changes:

Do you prefer the broke me or the rich me
The broke me couldn’t buy you meals
not even a value meal
And now I pay for everything, how you feel?

16. Home For The Holidays
Produced by J. Cole
This is a track Cole made in reference to leaving his city. You know his story, he lived in Fayetteville, North Carolina and moved to the big city to follow his dreams. Well here he samples Billy Joell to make a track talking about how he loves his home city, but how much it has changed. I personally can relate to the song, and it is very well done.

17. Love Me Not
Produced by J. Cole
Once again J. Cole produces a really familiar sounding track. It took me awhile to recognize the sample that is provided by Stevie Wonder from his song “My Cherrie Amour”. Cole again tackles the stress that the industry can have on a new artist who is trying to keep a relationship together. In the second verse he is rhyming as if his woman is talking directly to him; “All this time I’ve been with ya you aint used to do that I loved you ass way before I knew you could rap” .

18. See World
Produced by J. Cole & Elite
This is the first time we see Elite make a production appearance on this body of work. These two did the majority of the work on The Warm Up production tip. Well Elite came through and helped Cole put together one of the deepest songs on here. We find Jermaine here thinking about the world and how he has to deal with everyday trial and tribulations despite the money he has attained; “It’s funny somehow thought the money could erase it/No matter how much dough you got you gotta face it” .

19. Farewell
Produced by J. Cole
This is the perfect way to end this mixtape. In the first verse Cole wonders how he will be remembered. The second verse he goes on to think about his life and how things evolved from simplicity to challenging

The only thing I had to stress was how the hell to get laid
Gradually turn into me stressin’ how the hell to get paid
Been making songs so long, now how the hell they get played Ok, I’m blowing up quickly
I guess the flow is sickly
But yet I can’t forget my past and hope it won’t forget me .

20. Looking For Trouble (Bonus Track)
Featuring Kanye West, Pusha T, Big Sean, & CyHi Da Prynce; Prodcued by Kanye West
This was originally apart of Kanye’s G.O.O.D. Music collection. Cole easily had the best verse on here, everyone held their own but in my opinion Cole had the verse of the year on here.

Hey, Cole World, make way for the chosen one
What you now hear is putting fear in all the older ones
Down played me to downgrade me like they don’t notice son
Your shoes too big too fill? I can barely squeeze my toes in ‘em
Fucking hoes while teaching niggas to hold your sons
This the rap Moses, scratch that, Mary and Joseph’s son
High as f-ck with a cold flow and a loaded gun
Never say I’m better than Hov, but I’m the closest one
Heard you looking for trouble, what, I’m supposed to run?
Yo’ bitch invited me inside her, ain’t I supposed to cum?
Got niggas that’ll blow your tee off, put a hole in one
Now you outside of heaven’s gate, fronting like you know someone
Talking hard, but y’all still ain’t push me
They say you are what you eat, and I still ain’t pussy
Fuck it, everybody can get it
When you’re this hot, everybody’s a criticbut when you’re this high everybody’s a midget
All this mean mugging from niggas that mean nothing
Could it be my position is one that you dreamed of?
Went from quarter to broke to half past rich
With my badass bitch
And you don’t want no problems on some math class shit
So check the young genius out
Fuck the world, bust a nut, and let my semen sprout
I thought that real shit is what you been fiening ’bout
What you been praying for? What you been screaming ’bout?
Ironic you been sleeping on the one that you been dreaming ’bout

Bottom Line:
At first I thought I shouldn’t review this because its only a mixtape. But the more time I listened to it the more I liked it. I honestly listen to this tape at least once a day still. The music on here is very different sonically than The Warm Up. I love this mixtape to me it is the mixtape of the year. J. Cole does an excellent job here building up even more anticipation for the album that will hopefully be released to start 2011.

Picking the rating was extremely hard. I know there are sites that have called this perfect, but we are a little harder on the grading system here at The Fro’. I will agree that this mixtape will probably get better with age like fine wine though.

Download: J. Cole – Friday Night Lights [Mixtape]