Maybe over your head, I'm ahead of my time.
N***as scared of my future, I know they're dreadin' my prime,
'Cause I only make classics, what that take--timin'
Cole under pressure, what that make--diamonds.
I know it's a couple years old, but this is the last J-Dot track that I truly love. It's the last of his Simba series of songs ("Grown Simba" remains my favorite song of many on the 2009 classic, The Warm Up). Like its predecessor, the instrumental for "Return of Simba" purposely lacks in extravagance, allowing the listener to focus on Cole's lyrics, which he delivers with the utmost skill and hunger.
That hunger to be the greatest, something he displayed with such ferocity throughout The Warm Up, was something that was severely lacking on his debut album, Cole World. J-Dot has shown the lyrical skill, presence, wordplay, and hunger to hang with and beat Kendrick Lamar, Big K.R.I.T., Jay-Z, Wale, and any other emcee in the game today, but instead of sticking to his strengths of wordplay and rhymes, he tried (and didn't quite succeed) to follow Drake's heels and make party songs, something that isn't quite his strength and felt forced (see "Can't Get Enough,""Mr. Nice Watch," "Work Out"). Worse, he made the classic mistake of trying to sing and rap, which only Lauryn Hill and Andre 3000 are talented enough to pull off.
While Cole World had its gems (namely "Dollar and a Dream III," "Lights Please," and "Who Dat"), most of them had been released months or in some case years before the album. As a result, the album ended up being merely good, instead of a classic debut.
Granted the expectations on Cole are unfairly high, but they always are on emcees that flash his transcendent level of talent. Here's hoping that Cole's sophomore album, Born Sinner, is more Warm Up and less Cole World and that his frequently rumored collaborative project with Kendrick Lamar will push him to the heights as an emcee that we all believe he can achieve. If his Truly Yours series is any indication, he seems be headed back in that direction (especially the first installment, you have to love the "To Zion" sample on "Can I Holla At You").
Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,
"Return of Simba"
Truly Yours 2:
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