j cole is one of the most exciting, if unlikely, voices to emerge in hip-hop in the last few years. a nas-like storyteller, soulful, gritty, and refreshingly articulate, fayetteville north carolina is not where you might expect jay-z’s christened protégé to hail from. and on the eve of his roc nation debut, with three mixtapes and eps each under his belt, the mc/producer is already a great deal more prolific than oft-compared, rival buzzmaker, drake. but without resorting to cliched hype—”the next big thing”, “the one”, etc.—let’s just say he’s doing his thing about as hard as anyone out there right now. clap for him.
“breakdown” from cole world: the sideline story
“return of simba” from any given sunday