J.Cole

60) “January 2nd”

60) January 2nd
By: Johnny Blaze

[Verse 1:]
The real is back, feelin’ jacked
Been a bean; senzu, sayin’/saiyan I’m super; fact
-Is, I practically practiced,
The art of rappin’,
On Christmas I was unwrappin’
Guess what happened?
Davey got wavy
Fused with Johnny Blaze, Super Stoned on the daily
-No show, no Jon Stewart,
I come wit written pieces but this ain’t nothin’ newer
Sooner or later you’ll understand I’m a legend in my craft
When I die, remember me for who I am, not for who I was in the past
They always say nice guys finish last,
So I gotta be a dick in order to get with her fast,
Or so it should be,
I fantasized about you every night for a week,
I dream free
‘Cause life’s a bitch and I’m a slave to her,
Write my thoughts towards these thots ’cause my heart lingers,
She’ll never understand that I’m the man in her favour,
I skip a beat just to box with this stranger,
Got damn, I can’t believe she’s on my mind, wanna be braver,
She doesn’t know it but I’m ready to be her saviour

[Hook:]
Don’t be a bitch ass (Don’t be a bitch ass)
Don’t let her go (Don’t let her go)
Can’t let her pass (Can’t let her pass)
But she got a man though (But she got a man though)
If I can convince her this, (If I can convince her this)
She’ll never look back (She’ll never look back)
If I don’t make a blow (If I don’t make a blow)
Then how can I make a wish? (Then how can I make a wish?)

[Verse 2:]
What’s a Vato like me gotta do to be happy?
I check her Instagram, my God she looking so fancy
I go on Twitter, not one tweet sadly
Then I lay in bed and go to sleep cranky
A bitter motherfucker I am, taking actions into my own hands like a vigilante
Sike I lied, da fuck am I suppose to do?
Sit and smoke until she single or pop her man like acne?
I usually don’t have these schemes in my head,
Johnny Blaze wants to burn her man like a slice of toast,
Ironic ’cause I used to be Wonderbread
The more I think about you, the more I feel bummy because you’re almost perfect
Like Kanye said,

[Sample: Blame Game by Kanye West]
“You made life worth it. Stick around some real feelin’s might surface.”

You da one girl and should we end up together,
I won’t pressure you like diamonds, but I’ll treat you like treasure
I mean that with sincerity,
Stay zen and strive for prosperity
When you become single I’ll chip in a hand,
Gotta take you out, but like a Pringle, you canned
‘Cause you don’t know it yet,
Your mind in another world,
I’m livin’ mine like a poet, eh
When oh when the day comes that you’re free,
You ain’t even gotta ask Siri to find me G
Yes sirree,
This is El Salvador’s greatest,
For ten Summers I haven’t seen my family; I’m losing my patience
When I go to Cali I’ll be my cousin’s favourite
Los Angeles and Bakersfield waits for me to watch the sunrise,
Lay on the beach and smoke some Cali Bud one time,
Recline, your seats everybody
Blaze creating fire, it’s getting foggy
The G’Day Man, nineteen, legal now and smoking dope is still a hobby

[Hook:]
Don’t be a bitch ass (Don’t be a bitch ass)
Don’t let her go (Don’t let her go)
Can’t let her pass (Can’t let her pass)
But she got a man though (But she got a man though)
If I can convince her this, (If I can convince her this)
She’ll never look back (She’ll never look back)
If I don’t make a blow (If I don’t make a blow)
Then how can I make a wish? (Then how can I make a wish?)

[Verse 3:]
I ain’t no bitch, I ain’t no coward
I’m legit, dunk like Howard
Sike I don’t ball, I just block
Tell Rob Ford to stay away from Rock
You n****s might have swag, or you might have money,
Or you might be a dick, with cute faced honeys,
Or you might be a fancy dude, with a gold ring
But check the birth date man, you ain’t the King
Nah, you ain’t the King
David’s the King
January 2nd

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Who Did It Better? #2. OutKast Vs. J. Cole

Ye, ye, ye, ye, ye! Who Did It Better? is back ladies and gents! It has been long anticipated and the only reason I am bringing life back to this series is because of all of YOU! That’s right, as a recent poll via my twitter declared, the Who Did It Better? post I did in May 2014 has been highly recognized and you, the people, identified that The Notorious B.I.G. (a.k.a. Biggie Smalls), did it better than Rick Ross (see the post here to understand why)

I want to figure out what you guys think about this particular clash; OutKast’s Da Art of Storytellin’ Pt. 1 VS. J. Cole’s LAnd of the Snakes. So first, let me give you a background story on OutKast for those who don’t know who they are.

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Big Boi on the left, André 3000 on the right. Together, they are OutKast

OutKast is an East Point Atlanta, Georgia Hip-Hop/Rap group that includes André Benjamin (a.k.a. André 3000) and Antwan Patton (a.k.a. Big Boi) which was formed in 1992. During the 90’s (or what Hip-Hop nerds like myself call “The Golden Age,”) OutKast made dirty-south rap famous; a rap style that no one in that era of rap has ever heard before.

AqueminiOutKast

 

On Tuesday, September 29th, 1998, OutKast released their third critically acclaimed album titled Aquemini; a clever way of combining two Zodiac signs (Big Boi being an Aquarius, André 3000 being a Gemini) and creating a new word; Aquemini (pronounced A-quem-in-eye) That in itself should tell you how strong the bond these two individuals have, even if you have never listened to OutKast before.

tracklist

The back CD cover of OutKast’s third album Aquemini

 

Track number nine on the album introduced a beat that will forever play in my head for as long as I live. The track is called Da Art of Storytellin’ Pt. 1 ft.Sleepy Brown who is part of The Dungeon Family but we can’t get into what that is right now because it’s complex but simply put, the song tells two stories told by each member of OutKast which intertwines into one.

The song starts off with Big Boi recounting a time where he received a booty call from a girl he calls “Suzy Skrew.”  As you can imagine, Suzy Skrew was a promiscuous girl who only had sex with rappers in places she found appropriate, so no backseat of cars or “bathroom stalls” like Kanye West would say (that was a N****s In Paris reference in case you didn’t get it.) Big Boi caught Suzy at the mall and realized she is indeed a prostitute however at this point, Big Boi is okay with that and figured he might as well get some head from her before he picks up his daughter and goes home to his baby momma (this is that southern-playalistic ideology in which they made popular on their first album.)

Outkast-southernplayalisticadillacmuzik

OutKast’s debut album, released on Tuesday, April 26th, 1994

Following Big Boi’s pimpish verse, André 3000 starts off verse two with:

“Now Suzy Skrew had a partner named Sasha, (Sasha) Thumper, (Thumper)
I remember her number like the summer,
When her and Suzy yeah they threw a slumber,
Party, but you cannot call it that ’cause it was slummer.”

André 3000 goes out with Sasha at three in the morning, dancing under street lights and being the nice guy that André is, he finds himself sharing a moment of peace and happiness with an unpredictable counter-part; Suzy’s friend who is also a prostitute as stated in the first line of verse two.

As André and Sasha are hanging out late at night, he asks her “What you wanna be?” and she replies with “Alive.” This one-word reply has André 3000’s mind blown. Maybe it’s because he too realized that even though young Sasha Thumper was a prostitute, she wanted to be more than that; she wanted to feel alive for once in her life and not be labelled as a sex symbol. The verse ends on a melancholy note, fact is this Sasha Thumper character impacted André 3000’s life to the point where he would be performing at live shows and hoped she would be standing front row, cheering him on. She never did show up because as it turns out, Sasha was with a guy who mistreated her and nevertheless impregnated her and unfortunately, Sasha Thumper, who was two months due, was found dead at the back of a school with a needle in her arm.


Now that I covered the first song that we will be comparing, let me elaborate on J. Cole and some of the metaphors and theories behind the meaning of his song, LAnd of the Snakes.

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013 was a big day for Hip-Hop. Mac Miller released his sophomore album Watching Movies With The Sound Off (an album that surprisingly made me a fan of Mac Miller, shout out to my friend Diego for letting me borrow that album), Kanye West dropped his sixth solo album, you might of heard it, it’s called Yeezus and of course, Jermaine Cole (a.k.a. J. Cole) who was 28 years-old at the time, gave his fans a treat for the summer of 2013; his sophomore album Born Sinner.

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The deluxe version of J. Cole’s sophomore album, Born Sinner

 

With the intention of competing in terms of album sales with Kanye West, J. Cole who is signed to Jay Z’s Roc Nation label, sold 297,000 copies of the album in it’s first week while Kanye sold 327,000; Jermaine lost the first-weeks sales bout by 30,000 copies. Although Kanye had a better marketing scheme compared to J. Cole, the Dreamville founder undoubtedly had the better album compared to Kanye’s because in my opinion, Cole had one of the best albums of 2013.

When I first listened to LAnd of the Snakes I immediately had a moment of realization that Oh shit, Cole is rapping on an OutKast instrumental! This is about to be one crazy track, I don’t know if I’m ready for this! After I calmed down from my nerdy rap juncture, I pressed play on my iPod and just vibed out alone in my room as I usually do. The result was a very relateable song or at least, from my eyes.

In the first line of verse one, Cole already acknowledges the fact that yes, he sampled OutKast and that he used to bump Da Art of Storytellin’ Pt. 1 on Lewis Street which is a 20-minute walk from Cole’s childhood house, three minutes by car.

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J. Cole chillin’ by his childhood home, 2014 Forest Hills Drive

Cole reflects on his success in this verse, ponders on the thought of how “hoes” from his past are probably envious of how much of a successor he grew to be. He talks about how he can sleep in his own room meaning he doesn’t have to share one with his brother which I found relatable because I too share a room with my brother who like Cole, has two sides to him; one good, one evil (cross reference to the Born Sinner theme in case you’re confused.) Then, Cole suddenly vents out some emotions, raps that he can’t even fuck hoes in his room because his brother is always there and that she’ll find out his clothes are old based off the bullshit she might hear from Cole’s brother (we all know siblings like to ruin things for us.) Cole continues with a boastful flow:

“I’m the president, you the co-chair,
You the player, yeah, I’m the coach here
N***a I coast here
This weather got me set up on this West Coast, yeah
Avoiding the snakes, AK’s and coke, yeah,
Get my dick wet but I never let it soak there”

This starts the rally of theories as to why the “LA” in LAnd of the Snakes is uppercase sensitive. For one, he’s expressing himself from the view point on how to live in Los Angeles whilst avoiding the snake-in-the-grass kind of people. Secondly, on the hook I noticed that even though Cole’s a genuinely nice person, he finds himself in the club scene, hollering at a “bad bitch” and she even gives him some word of advice saying “Watch the snakes ’cause they watching you” which again, goes along with the snakes theme of this story.

Moving on to the third verse of the song because well, I found it more appealing than his second verse to be honest with all of you, Cole is in Beverly Hills and runs into a chick he went to College with. At this moment, he reflects when he used to be a basketball player and was in College via paid scholarship. He admits he had sex with this girl back in College one night and as soon as they were finished, he kicked her out of his dorm room and never called her back; something he’s not so proud of now that she’s standing right in front of him.

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J. Cole at St. John’s University in 2007; the school he attended on a paid scholarship for basketball

The girl goes on to tell Cole that he’s a misogynist and then Cole raps a couple philosophical lines full of metaphors:

“On some Bobby Brown shit, my prerogative, n***a is to hit and never commit,
Now realizing when I hit, she never forgets”

J. Cole stated he just wanted to have sex with no intentions of building a relationship with this chick and makes a Bobby Brown reference because Bobby Brown was once infamously married to the late Whitney Houston. They got divorced because Bobby Brown was a drug addict at the time and a violent spousal abuser. This is why Cole says “hit and never commit,” it’s a double entendre; for physically hitting the College chick in a sexually-fetish way (perhaps something Bobby Brown did to Whitney when they were still a couple) and for hitting her up for the night but again, not trying to get into a relationship with her, which was ultimately the reason why Bobby and Whitney divorced; because Bobby would hit her in the face, leaving her bruised physically and battered emotionally.

The song ends with the girl telling J. Cole that she remembers the time he kicked her out of his dorm room and informs Cole that he ain’t worth shit which can be interpreted in a lot of ways. For instance, even though Cole’s net-worth is tremendous in riches, he made a morally poor decision towards this girl who he ran into in The Hills. This brings me to my third and final reason as to why this song is called LAnd of the Snakes; the twist is that Jermaine Cole snaked the girl from College who he ran into while in L.A. 

Mind-blown right?

Jackie-Chan-WTF


So, enough chit-chat,
Listen to these guys rap!
Then vote on which one was better, but take your time,
Don’t skip or dash!

Lol, enjoy:

OutKast ft.Sleepy Brown
Da Art of Storytellin’ Pt. 1
Aquemini (1998)

VS.

J. Cole
LAnd of the Snakes
Born Sinner (2013)

 

2014 Year-End Review: The Best Hip-Hop Mixtapes/EPs

2014 Year-End Review: The Best Hip-Hop Mixtapes/EPs
By: David Lazo-Pineda

Welcome to my first ever Hip-Hop year in review! Today we’ll be looking at a variety of mixtapes/EPs that took the year by storm. Some artists included in this review are Mac Miller, J. Cole and Childish Gambino to name a few. Also, at the end of this post, I will share what I believe is the best Hip-Hop mixtape/EP of the year. So lets break it down shall we?

1) Cilvia Demo (EP)
Released: January 28th
By: Isaiah Rashad
T.D.E’s new boy Isaiah Rashad kicked off the year with this 14-track EP titled Cilvia Demo. Songs like Cilvia Demo where he raps “Now sometimes I be gettin’ higher than a bitch, smoking on my lows, put the fire to the spliff, what up?” introduces to listeners that young Rashad is indeed a stoner which is great. He follows this track with R.I.P. Kevin Miller where he states “Y’all live for bitches and blunts, we live for weed and money” but it was the song West Savannah ft. T.D.E’s first lady SZA that really grabbed my attention. This soulful, relaxing tune pays homage to OutKast not only because of the song title, but also because Isaiah sings “Now can we fall inlove with Southernplayalistic bangin’ through the night?”

Isaiah Rashad showed the world that he’s talented as hell and this EP proved that. Great things are on the rise for this artist.

2) Revenge Of The Dreamers
Released: January 29th
By: J. Cole

The mixtape begins with a song titled Lil’ Niggaz which reveals a snippet of J. Cole freestyling on Tupac’s Ambitionz Az A Ridah. Listeners then get to hear from J. Cole’s Dreamville label mates. Bas spits some wisdom on Golden Goals, Lit and Ceelo With The G’s. Omen raps on a track titled Motion Picture, where the beat is a simple slow-paced kick drum and also shows his flow on the song Henny Flow. New artist Treasure Davis got the honour of exchanging hooks and verses with J. Cole on May The Bitter Man Win. Cole also expresses some lyricism on the song Revenge of the Dreamers where he vents “Ayo I walk along this long harbour of life and sit on the pier, reflect on my pain and shit on my fears.” I can guarantee listeners will have fun listening to track 9 titled Bitchez ft.Bas & Omen not only because the beat is insanely dope and the hook is hilarious, but these three artists created a masterpiece that friends can enjoy rapping when they are together, perhaps at a party:

Cole ends the mixtape the same way he started it; by rapping on another Tupac beat (Str8 Ballin’.) This time, he reveals the original version of his hit song from Born Sinner titled Crooked Smile and it’s a nice way to end the mixtape. Look out for Revenge of the Dreamers 2 in 2015!

CyHi The Prynce - Black Hystori Project Cover

3) Black Hystori Project
Released: February 24th
By: CyHi The Prynce

G.O.O.D. Music artist CyHi The Prynce dropped this mixtape in February in honour of Black History Month. CyHi has previously released dope mixtapes but this is by far his best one to date, mainly because the mixtape was entirely produced by Kanye West so you know it’s bound 2 to be great (see what I did there?) Songs like Huey ft.King Louie, Mandela, and Napoleon are examples of beats that go hard, not to mention that CyHi managed to make a hook just by repeatedly saying “Nelson Mandela,” but it worked surprisingly. CyHi reminds fans that he is a true Emcee/lyricist with the song 3:16 where you guessed it, spits three 16 bar verses, because he’s just that good. What surprised me as well about this mixtape is that CyHi got Aftermath’s newest artist, (who was personally signed by Dr. Dre) Jon Connor, to lend a verse on the song February 29th so that was cooler than a Dragon Ball Z character. CyHi has a song titled Cydel Young, which is his real name and he expresses “Cydel Young they feel me in Belgium and when I die, I’m going back to the heavens I fell from.” I should also mention CyHi is from Atlanta and is a fan of OutKast, which is why he raps on the SpottieOttieDopaliscious beat and kills it on the song Good Night ft.Marian Mereba, who shares her beautiful vocals. Guitar Melody is a song that catches your attention like a thot catches feelings. The sample used in this song made me visualize that this is something slaves would sing and take it how you want it but the voice used in this song is a beautiful thing:

With production from Kanye West, in his corner, CyHi The Prynce created a classic mixtape that will forever be played every February which I now consider Black Hystori Month and for that, I thank you Mr. Cydel Young.

4) The Late Registration Of A College Dropout Who Had A Dark Twisted Fantasy Of 808s And Heartbreak
Released: March 18th
By: Jon Connor

You probably didn’t bother reading that long ass title, but Flint Michigan’s Jon Connor is the future and this mixtape hosted by DJ Drama, is a prime example as to why. Jon some how got the thumbs up to rap on a variety of Kanye West beats, I guess that’s the advantage he has when Dr. Dre is his mentor. Jon first raps on Kanye’s We Don’t Care beat from The College Dropout which is fitting since that was the first song on Kanye’s debut album and it’s the first song on this mixtape. Next, Jon murders the Power beat from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and even sings Dwele’s part. Power is followed by New Slaves where Jon raps “Rap done got so bad, everybody feel like they can do it too, Niggas droppin’ these songs and it’s droppin’ my I.Q.” New Slaves also features a sample of former WWE Superstar CM Punk because Jon’s whole motto is that he is “The Best In The World” much like CM Punk was when he was in his prime. Jon then spits on the Barry Bonds instrumental from Kanye’s Graduation album, then Workout Plan, then Flashing Lights then he absolutely slaughters the Black Skinhead beat better than Kanye in my opinion (I know that’s a bold statement.) If you weren’t already flabbergasted by Jon’s ability to kill beats, he raps on a Kanye West instrumental that I believe Kanye has never used which again, I would like to reiterate, having Dre as his mentor means Jon can get amazing connects. Doin’ My Job is a song that relates to anyone who has ever hated their job which is why it’s my favourite track on the mixtape and it might be yours as well. Jon continues to amaze by using ‘Ye’s Big Brother concept from the Graduation album where Kanye vented that Jay Z is his big brother:

Jon made this song to express his gratitude towards Dr. Dre with “My big brother is Em’s brother, Eazy-E, Yella and Ren’s brother. Who is Ice Cube brother, who is D.O.C’s friend and became my mentor now let the story begin.” Jon ends his #BestInTheWorld mixtape the same way Kanye ended his debut album; with Last Call. Let it be known if you weren’t a fan of Jon Connor’s before, listen to this mixtape and you will be I promise you this.

5) Faces
Released: May 11th
By: Mac Miller

After Watching Movies With The Sound Off came out in 2013, it seemed that Mac was living under a rock. He even went under a new alias with Delusional Thomas but then he dropped this 24-track mixtape and fans were convinced; Mac was back. Mac reflects on his success thus far on the song Here We Go and proudly announces “I did it all without a Drake feature!”

Speaking of features, Mac has ScHoolboy Q on the song Friends, Earl Sweatshirt on the fast-paced track Polo Jeans, Rick Ross on the banger Insominak where Mac throws shade at Drake again with “I’m on my worst behaviour, Bad side piece with the perfect flavour. Mothafuckas never loved us, Comin’ for your money mothafucka, don’t trust us!” Mike Jones was featured on the trippy track titled Uber and Vince Staples on the 9th Wonder produced track titled Rain. This mixtape sufficed fans and needless to say, Faces was Most Dope.

6) House Rules
Released: May 21st
By: Slaughterhouse

With the success of Welcome to: Our House in 2012, Slaughterhouse returned to the mixtape game with House Rules. Joell Ortiz steps up to the mic first on House Rules (Intro) with “Ye niggas the gang is back again, Royce givin’ his beard a scratch again, Crooked lit a cuban, Joe actin’ like he tweetin’ but he do that once the track begin, I’m just nibbling on this plastic pen.”

SayDatThen is the second track where the theme is “You got somethin’ on your mind nigga? Say dat then.” Illmind Interlude is the third track and this time it’s Crooked I (now known as Kxng Crooked) and Joell Ortiz who take the stage. There are moments on this mixtape where the four members of Slaughterhouse instead of all being on a song have individual songs. For instance, Joe Budden teams with Emmany on Trade It All, Royce Da 5’9″ goes solo on the song Keep It 100, Crooked I expresses his demons on Struggle and Joell Ortiz describes his life on Life In The City. Nevertheless, whether they are all together on a song or not, House Rules undoubtedly reminded fans that Slaughterhouse rules; they are the juggernauts of this rap shit, like it or not.

7) The Beauty Of Independence (EP)
Released: August 25th
By: G-Unit

Watch Me is the first song we listen to from the revived rap group G-Unit which now consists of Young Buck, Lloyd Banks, Tony Yayo, new comer Kidd Kidd and leader 50 Cent. This 6-track EP was so necessary to Hip-Hop; it proved that not only are these five artists at the top of their game, but also that they can co-exist now more than ever despite all the issues they had in the past. I Don’t Fuck With You has such a nostalgic gangsta rap type of feel and they delivered with their lyrics as well. One thought that lingered on my mind while listening to this EP is can New Orleans’ Kidd Kidd hang with these Hip-Hop heavyweights? On the song Changes, he proved his writing ability with “Guess I gotta stop postin’ all this money on Instagram, they welcome you with open homes and open hands. I ain’t rich like 50, I just know the man, red emoji faces in your texts, I know you mad.” Kidd Kidd also drops some knowledge later in the song with “They say family’s first. But family’s the first to get you hurt. And these hoes even worse, all these riches is a gift and a curse” and that’s where Lloyd Banks picks up where Kidd left off perfectly with his unfuckwitable bars as usual:

It’s evident that I had doubts about the new G-Unit but they proved they remain cohesive enough to rule Hip-Hop once again. Look out for the sequel to this EP in 2015!

8) STN MTN/Kauai
Released: October 2nd & 3rd
By: Childish Gambino

STN MTN is Gambino’s seventh mixtape hosted by Gangsta Grillz while Kauai is his second EP. So first we’ll look at STN MTN (pronounced Stone Mountain) Fucks Given is exactly what you think it is; a song about not giving a fuck or as ‘Bino puts it “I came here to do my own shit; no fucks given.” Following Fucks Given is No Small Talk ft.Kari Faux who steals the show on this one because of her creative way of influencing women to shake the booty with “Make it bounce, make it bounce like Spalding.” Money Baby is cool because ‘Bino tells fans he likes to smoke weed whilst singing on the hook. Next, ‘Bino freestyles on Future’s hit Move That Dope instrumental. Even the skit Childish Gambino @ The Atrium is laugh out loud funny, we get a glimpse of Donald Glover’s comedy which fans appreciate because of his former role on the show Community:

The mixtape ends with a throwback; Gambino raps on the Go DJ beat and kills it obviously because low key, Childish Gambino has grown man bars. Conclusion? STN MTN is dope like a tweet from Jaden Smith

The Kauai (pronounced Ka-Why-E) EP has 7-tracks and begins with a song called Sober. Listening to ‘Bino sing “And now that it’s over, I’ll never be sober, I couldn’t believe, but now I’m so high,” followed by what feels like a nostalgic 80s dance beat but with modern production added to it, Sober is the kind of song that is not only relatable, but also catchy:

Jaden Smith makes his presence known on this EP near the end of the song Pop Thieves (Make it Feel Good) the only way Jaden Smith can: “They say you never say never, it’s real. Electric eels, in da water, we should probably not go deep.” Jaden makes another appearance on this EP on the song Late Night In Kauai where he storytells and rhymes here and there followed by ‘Bino spittin’ then takes a break and talks to the listener with “My nigga Jaden Smith droppin’ jewels and niggas don’t even believe him because he’s Jaden Smith.” The EP concludes with a Beach Picnic version of the song 3005 from ‘Bino’s album Because The Internet and it’s soothing. Basically, Childish Gambino gave us a mixtape and a EP both on one record and it was awesome.

Rapsody - Beauty and the Beast EP Cover

9) Beauty And The Beast (EP)
Released: October 7th
By: Rapsody

If you’ve been sleeping on the Femcee Rapsody, you suck. Just kidding, but seriously how many female rappers are out here that actually have talent? Exactly. You couldn’t even think of one (Iggy and Nicki don’t count because they suck.) Rapsody teams with her mentor 9th Wonder who produced this EP and Feel It is first off this 10-track EP and it’s totally rad. She spits “I’m still fresher than all of y’all, linen out the dryer, we don’t close pens, still hangin’ on every line I spit before ten.” There’s a song titled The World where it samples Nas’ If I Ruled The World ft.Lauryn Hill and Rapsody raps “My stomach growls, my hunger for wisdom is from the owls, wrap my body in towels like Ghandi and tell you all to bow.” Track 7 titled Godzilla is the banger of the EP where the hook is “Godzilla crushin’ y’all villas, Godzilla only God’s illa, amen.” She also calls out Nicki Minaj and Iggy Azalea with “I’m burnin’ yo city, they fear me, Black and I’m witty, while y’all still argue about Nicki, Iggy, I’m killing these biggies, Biggie.”

Despite all these dope tracks, it’s the song The Man that takes this EP to new heights. Rapsody tells the story of a boy who struggles to be the man of a house since his dad left and also gets picked on at school. There’s also a hidden song within this one and it’s something everybody needs to hear I don’t wanna spoil it. Needless to say, Rapsody is untouchable when it comes to rapping and this EP proves that Iggy and Nicki can’t come close to her mic skills.

10) Prohibition
Released: October 14th
By: Berner & B-Real

Prohibition is a mixtape for the stoners. The mixtape starts with Prohibition (Intro) in which you hear several TV breaking news stories about how marijuana sales have secured millions of dollars for the state of Colorado and that “business hasn’t slowed down.” The song Shatter is where Berner raps “It don’t matter what you smoke we smoke better, our joints are much fatter, girl scout, lemon shatter.” Later, B-Real from Cypress Hill pleads “If you should ever call the doctor and you need that medication, make appointments with my nurses they will serve up any patients.” Furthermore, songs like Faded ft.Snoop Dogg, Xanax and Patron ft.Demrick which is personally my favourite because that beat is fucking chill and Strong ft.Wiz Khalifa are tracks you simply blaze to, get in a daze to and feel great too:

Cover art

11) Burning Bridges (EP)
Released: December 15th
By: Ludacris

We have come to the last EP that made the list. Burning Bridges is an EP that Ludacris who’s real name is Chris Bridges, dropped just before the year ended and it features a handful of artists on this 6-song tracklist. New Beginning Intro transitions perfectly into Money ft.Rick Ross where Luda raps “I was told to go to school, graduate and get a job but I’m a Hip-Hop cash king, rapper from the south and everybody wants the easy way out.” Cee Lo Green is featured on Problems, G.O.O.D. Music’s John Legend is on In My Life where he shares his talented vocals as you can imagine and Jason Aldean on the self-titled song Burning Bridges which is my favourite off the EP. Luda vents about relationship issues and Jason’s vocals assist the song perfectly:

Miguel is also featured on this EP on the soft piano tune titled Good Lovin’ which is the last track on the EP where Luda vents about his past relationships with girls and how the energy with them is off. This EP is short but sweet and showed a more vulnerable Ludacris. At the same time, Luda reminded Hip-Hop heads that with his wide range of vocabulary words, he remains a veteran in this rap game and for that, I salute him.

Now that we covered all of that good stuff, it’s time for I, the EinsteinOfRap, to declare that Jon Connor’s The Late Registration Of A College Dropout Who Had A Dark Twisted Fantasy Of 808s And Heartbreak is the best Hip-Hop mixtape of 2014 no doubt about it:

There you have it folks, thanks for reading my review and if this blog post made you want to go download, buy and listen to any or all of these mixtapes/EPs, then my job here is done!

Cole World: Sideline Story Vs. Born Sinner

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Cole World: Sideline Story Vs. Born Sinner: A Track-By-Track Review
By: David Lazo-Pineda

Hello everybody and welcome to my first ever track-by-track review! With the release of J. Cole’s highly anticipated third album coming home for the holidays, (that was a J. Cole song reference from The Warm Up) I thought it would be interesting to compare his previous two albums to see which one is better.

It’s been long debated on which is better, Jermaine’s debut project Cole World: Sideline Story or his sophomore effort Born Sinner. Now, the EinsteinOfRap will breakdown (another reference) both albums track-by-track, in hopes to find an answer.

At the end of this post, you the reader can also have the opportunity to join in the discussion, by voting on which album is better in your honest opinion. So without further ado, let’s get to it!

1. Intro Vs. Villuminati
I like that Cole briefly rapped over some piano keys on the Intro to Cole World: Sideline Story however, the opening track on Born Sinner is “way deeper this time” as Jermaine puts it. Villuminati not only is longer than Intro, but it speaks more volume when it comes to making a strong introduction to an album. Also, Cole samples The Notorious B.I.G. from the song Juicy where Biggie raps, “Born sinner, the opposite of a winner.” This is fitting to Cole’s album concept because well, the title of his sophomore album is Born Sinner. Therefore, this is why I picked Villuminati over Intro.

Winner: Villuminati!

2. Dollar and a Dream III Vs. Kerney Sermon (Skit)
This is another track vs. skit contest which again, goes to the song that is longer which is Dollar and a Dream III from C.W.S.S. Personally, I felt that this concept of having nothing to something is inspiring and Cole has succeeded when it comes to this trilogy of rap songs. While the Kerney Sermon skit is delightful in a sense that we catch a glimpse of the following track on Born Sinner, titled LAnd of the Snakes, it wasn’t enough to go head-to-head with the Dollar and a Dream concept. C.W.S.S easily gets the point here.

Winner: Dollar and a Dream III!

3. Can’t Get Enough ft.Trey Songz Vs. LAnd of the Snakes
This was one of the more challenging tracks to decide on which is better but it came down to a few things. For one, Can’t Get Enough is a song that was one of the lead singles for the debut album which was also a hit on the radio. Meanwhile, LAnd of the Snakes wasn’t as commercially successful. However, LAnd of the Snakes does sample OutKast’s Da Art of Storytellin’ Pt. 1, but at the same time, I couldn’t get enough of J. Cole and Trigga Man’s collaboration on this track, so I had to give it to C.W.S.S on this one.

Winner: Can’t Get Enough!

4. Lights Please Vs. Power Trip ft.Miguel
This was a tough one. If you’re a true fan of J. Cole, you know that Lights Please was first introduced to the world on Cole’s second mixtape titled The Warm Up which became a hit in the underground world of Hip-Hop. Fans like myself appreciated the fact that he put this particular song on the album, but when I listened to Power Trip which is arguably one of J. Cole’s best songs ever, I knew this song was special. This song was so special, I even wrote my own verses to it which you can read here, so B.S. gets the point hands down.

Winner: Power Trip!

5. Interlude Vs. Mo Money (Interlude)
This is a Interlude vs. Interlude battle and I picked the C.W.S.S Interlude because it was more fascinating to me to understand the story of how J. Cole got signed to Roc Nation which was the same night cops pulled him over but he didn’t care, because he already knew he was going to be signed to Jay Z! What a relief for him right? Although Cole drops some knowledge for us on Mo Money, I had to slide closer to Interlude this time around just because I enjoyed the story so much.

Winner: Interlude!

6. Sideline Story Vs. Trouble
“I put my heart and soul in this game I’m feeling drained,” are the words you first hear when you listen to the calm and relaxing tune to Sideline Story. As Cole reflects on his life at that moment, we get to see how he accepts adversity and conquers through his pain. Meanwhile on Trouble, we see a more outraged Cole, where he raps as if he’s crying for help because of his drunken stupors. While both songs contain great content, I sided with Sideline Story because of how much more chill it is compared to Trouble and it’s catchy chants.

Winner: Sideline Story!

7. Mr. Nice Watch ft.Jay Z Vs. Runaway
This one was kinda easy because when you have Jay Z on your debut album, you know you have a great song. Mr. Nice Watch is just that. The whole theme is obviously about time and watches but it was Jay Z’s clever verse that really stole the show here, not to mention the awesome guitar riffs we hear after the hook fades. On Runaway however, we get some comedy from good ol’ Mike Epps and an uncredited Big Sean “woah” near the end of each hook. Cole also sings his soul with “I’m holding on desperately. Runaway, runaway, runaway.” Nevertheless, Mr. Nice Watch takes the cake here because Roc Nation that’s why.

Winner: Mr. Nice Watch!

8. Cole World Vs. She Knows ft.Amber Coffman
Probably the hardest one I had to choose between. See I love rapping along to Cole World, the part where he goes “Got a hundred fifty bitches in the club starring at me. How I feel? Very happy hey!” It’s that braggadocious rap that Hip-Hop heads like myself love to listen to but at the same time, I caught myself loving another song. She Knows has every element that makes a song perfect. With a guess feature by Amber Coffman; a name not familiar to Hip-Hop fanatics and I’m sure it got heads scratching when buyers read the title. However, the song was incredible and it can apply to any situation as well. For instance, I caught myself in a scenario where a girl I knew, knew something I knew, so I just had to rap along and say “She knows, hey!” Despite that pause near the end of this song where it suddenly goes quiet then your ears get surprised by the loud vocals of Ms. Coffman, she makes the song even more special with her wise lyrics with an interesting tone. That’s why She Knows gets the point.

Winner: She Knows!

9. In The Morning ft.Drake Vs. Rich Niggaz
I know what everybody reading this post is thinking. And if you don’t let me explain like Kevin Hart. I don’t like today’s Drake, I mean I believe he’s too sensitive for my liking. I’m afraid if I listen to Takecare or Nothing Was The Same, I might cry over an ex I never had. But I will say this; Drake had a lot of great songs in the past. Successful ft.Trey Songz and Lil’ Wayne, Light Up ft.Jay Z, Forever ft.Kanye West, Lil’ Wayne & Eminem are just a slew of songs Drake has created that are great in my opinion but his new material has gone a different route which does not suffice my ears. Needless to say, when he collaborated with Cole on this song which apparently all the ladies love, I enjoyed it surprisingly. Despite my view on the Drake of today compared to Drake from the past, I honestly believe we need more Cole and Drake songs because they are two artists who complement each other well in the world of Hip-Hop. This is why I favoured In The Morning over Rich Niggaz because Rich Niggaz seems like a sequel to Mo Money which is cool, but not enough to beat the soulful combination of one Jermaine Cole and one Aubrey Graham.

Winner: In The Morning!

10. Lost Ones Vs. Where’s Jermaine? (Skit)
While the Where’s Jermaine skit is an effective prelude to Forbidden Fruit ft.Kendrick Lamar, Lost Ones is a classic and everyone should recognize this. Lost Ones connected to me even though I’ve never been in a situation where I got my girlfriend pregnant but the story telling on this song is enough to make you believe you are going through what Cole’s going through and that says a lot! Lost Ones is easily a record that can speak to a generation where sex is out in the open and teen pregnancy is an occurrence so this would be something that relates to this generation and that’s why Lost Ones wins.

Winner: Lost Ones!

11. Nobody’s Perfect ft.Missy Elliott Vs. Forbidden Fruit ft.Kendrick Lamar
I really loved the fact that Cole got the Hip-Hop veteran Missy Elliott to sing on the the track Nobody’s Perfect. I thought the collaboration here was great, the lyrics were top notch but my first reaction when I listened to Forbidden Fruit was memorable above all. I remember covering my face with my hands because I couldn’t believe how ballsy Cole was by sampling one of the greatest Hip-Hop groups of all time, A Tribe Called Quest’s song Electric Relaxation. The song had a theme and stood by it and even though Kendrick Lamar didn’t spit a verse on this one, he still managed to shine bright like the Compton kid that he is. Forbidden Fruit wins here because “You know dat. Beetch. Beetch. Beetch!”

Winner: Forbidden Fruit!

12. Never Told Vs. Chaining Day
I like Never Told a lot because of the whole “don’t snitch” lesson that is introduced here, but I related more to Chaining Day because of the reminder that chains don’t make the man, man makes the chain. Plus, the instruments used on Chaining Day and the slow mo voice of Cole near the end is intriguing, so I gotta go with Chaining Day on this one. Also notice that on Cole World: Sideline Story, Cole rapped about watches on Mr. Nice Watch then he rapped about chains on Chaining Day. Just something to ponder about!

Winner: Chaining Day!

13. Rise and Shine Vs. Ain’t That Some Shit (Interlude)
Once again we get to hear some words from the great Jay Z during the beginning of Rise and Shine. It’s only fitting throughout the album that Cole was telling the story of how he got signed which was concluded with the following from Hova: “I’mma find him, I’mma sign him. I don’t want no problems *chuckles*” In addition, Rise and Shine’s hook is fascinating because Cole vents how if he dies, he wants God to take his soul which means he wants to go to heaven naturally. Although Ain’t That Some Shit was fun and more of a rapid-rap type of song, it didn’t compare close to Rise and Shine’s holy lyrics. Cole shined on this track.

Winner: Rise and Shine!

14. God’s Gift Vs. Crooked Smile ft.TLC
God’s Gift hits your eardrums harder than a left hook from Mike Tyson. The song is simply dope, soulful and raw all wrapped in one big… Gift. However, Crooked Smile features TLC; a popular R&B/Hip-Hop Grammy award winning group in the late 90’s so when Cole got them back together to sing the hook for this record, it had potential to be a hit, which it did despite not having Lisa “Left Eye” on the song (R.I.P.) Crooked Smile is the kind of song that expresses how imperfection is okay and even though Cole has crooked teeth, he doesn’t feel the need to fix them or as Cole puts it, “They tell me I should fix my grill because I got money now.” In addition, the theme of the record empowers young females to wake up and be okay with what “God already put his paint brush on” as in, being confident with who you are and accepting your flaws. I believe Crooked Smile has a strong message just like Lost Ones, can’t you see J. Cole’s just too damn good people?! Crooked Smile had me smiling, point for Born Sinner.

Winner: Crooked Smile!

15. Breakdown Vs. Let Nas Down
Let Nas Down is a song that is so important to Hip-Hop and possibly to Cole as well. The song reveals the story on how Cole’s song Work Out became a radio hit but when rap legend Nas heard it, he didn’t like it at all or as Nas puts it “Yo you da one, why you make that shit?” Cole found this out through Hip-Hop producer No I.D. who’s worked with Jay Z, Kanye West and Nas on several occasions and also produced Never Told. Cole couldn’t believe he let Nas down so he made this song to express his apology towards him. It should be noted because I think people forgot this happened, but Nas replied to this song with a remix called Made Nas Proud and you guys can listen to the extended remix which includes both Let Nas Down by J. Cole followed by Made Nas Proud by Nas obviously. If you’re really interested, take a listen here:

On the contrary, Breakdown is the kind of song that I related to on so many levels. For one, it’s evident that Jermaine and his mother have a close relationship and it shows in this song. Cole raps about how he broke down when he seen what his mother was doing; drugs, crack in a pipe more specifically. There’s also this hatred in Cole’s tone towards his father because he’s the reason Cole’s mother did what she did, which resulted in Cole having an emotional break down. This related to me personally because if you read my blog posts in the past, you know I too have a close relationship with my mother but it’s not the same with my father. Nevertheless, it’s hard not to connect to this song and therefore, it gets my vote.

Winner: Breakdown!

16. Work Out Vs. Born Sinner ft.Fauntleroy
I absolutely adore the last song on Cole World: Sideline Story called Work Out. I thought it was brave and ridiculously clever for Cole to sample Kanye West’s The New Workout Plan on his debut album where the original song is also coincidentally from Kanye’s debut album The College Dropout. J. Cole took Kanye’s concept on the act of physically working out to a relatable stand point where he asks a girl that he had a thing with if it will work out. Yeah, pretty wise I know. This is also the song that as previously mentioned, sparked controversy with Nasir Jones. But it is what it is so we must move on!
Born Sinner ends with the self-titled track featuring vocals from James Fauntleroy who if you didn’t know, is part of the Hip-Hop group Cocaine 80’s who have worked with several artists around the world.
“Spinning in circles, live my life without rehearsal, if I die today my nigga was it business? Was it personal?” Is the opening question Cole asks on this track which lyrically speaking is on point. Because if one is spinning in circles, that is a routine lifestyle but Cole contradicts himself by saying he doesn’t live his life without rehearsal. Just something to digest and we haven’t even gotten past the first bar! God damn, Cole is just sick with it guys. This was the perfect way to end the album and if you have it on repeat, it literally transitions beautifully from Born Sinner to Villuminati because of the whole “I’m a born sinner but I’ll die better than that; swear” so you can relive the awesome experience that is, Born Sinner which is why the self-titled track wins my vote in the final battle of Cole World: Sideline Story vs. Born Sinner.

Winner: Born Sinner!

Also, though there is a bonus disc included with Born Sinner, it was not used in this discussion because Truly Yours III is a different project compared to Cole’s albums.

Therefore, with a 9 out of 16 over a close 7 out of 16, my overall album pick based on the tallied up score is…

COLE WORLD: SIDELINE STORY!

There you have it folks, the EinsteinOfRap has concluded that Cole World: Sideline Story is the better J. Cole album out of the two. Don’t forget to purchase a hard copy of 2014 Forest Hills Drive or download it online.

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Agree or disagree with my results? Now’s your chance to vote on which album you think is better!

Until next time,

Stay Zen and Prosper

43) “Be Free”

43) Be Free
By: Johnny Blaze

[Verse 1:]
I’m strugglin’ now
‘Cause I seem to always fuck up my lifestyle
It’s true,
I can’t really deal
With all the bullshit that my past has done to me, for real

[Hook:] (x2)
All I want to do is take the chains off
All I want to do is break the chains off
All I want to do is be free
All I want to do is be free

[Verse 2:]
Can you feel my pain?
‘Cause it exist though nobody notice; God damn it’s a shame
I wanna love again,
But there ain’t a woman out here that can accept my zen
Oh, man

[Hook:] (x2)
All I want to do is take the chains off
All I want to do is break the chains off
All I want to do is be free
All I want to do is be free

[Verse 3:]
People getting killed, pulling Smiths at will
Just increase the peace,
Stop the violence please!
I can’t take it anymore,
Bodies dropping to the floor
This we can’t ignore,
This we can’t ignore

[Hook:] (x2)
All I want to do is take the chains off
All I want to do is break the chains off
All I want to do is be free
All I want to do is be free

12) “Power Trip (Dreams Pt.2)”

12) Power Trip (Dreams Pt.2)
By: Johnny Blaze ft. J. Cole & Miguel

[Hook 1: J. Cole]
Got me up all night, all I’m singin’ is love songs
She got me up all night, constant drinkin’ and love songs
She got me up all night, down and out with these love songs
She got me up all night, drownin’ out with these love songs
She got me up all night, (yeah) all I’m singin’ is love songs
She got me up all night, (yeah) constant drinkin’ and love songs
She got me up all night, (yeah) down and out with these love songs
She got me open all night, (uh-huh) got me open all night (hey)

[Verse 1: Johnny Blaze]
Okay, back when I was in love with my neighbour’s niece,
And even back when I still had my heart at peace
The pain used to hurt,
Thought I was cursed,
No love found, but I found weed so it worked
We had a thing, who knew?
I even wrote the song Dreams for you,
Dreamed that my dreams were true,
Inception like I leaned on you,
Stupid shit, some stupid shit,
Never let go,
I was so stupid, shit
Now a Vato got stronger, took a power trip,
I was alone for awhile, but I’m good, I’m grown now,
And, to the same bitches who used to poke fun at me,
Life got better ’cause I was finally happy
And I met someone I was feelin’ euphoric,
Oh, you should know, I learned to ignore it
But, I’m doin’ me, I’m doin’ me,
My drink spilled on me, I should change my tee
I’m saying…

[Hook 2: Miguel & J. Cole]

[Miguel:]
Would you believe me if I said I’m in love?
Baby, I want you to want me
Would you believe me if I said I’m in love?
Baby, I want ya

[J. Cole:]
And we are, we are, we are
Got me up all night
And we are, we are, we are
All I’m singin’ is love songs
And we are, we are, we are
Got me up all night
And we are, we are, we are
She got me
And we are, we are, we are
She got me

[Verse 2: Johnny Blaze]
Well this has got to be the dumbest crush ever,
If I could ever change the earth, I would definitely change the weather
Love is evol/evil, I’m reversing the letters but,
Fuck it, I’m on one, you feel me?
I’m on a power trip, I like it where I stand,
Expressing myself was always the plan
Like, give me twenty pages, pages,
Pen and patience, I could fill those pages, pages
But, I’m in my city just going through adolescence,
If I was a teacher, don’t question why I add a lesson
Can’t help but feel trapped in a pokéball each day,
Meanwhile you caught them all, such a cliché
Now typically I go for the ones that aren’t e-zay
And you got me freeze-framed,
You yellin’ “Please, kay?”
For Pete’s sake girl pull it together,
You fucked up one time, we’ll get through it however,
But…

[Hook 2: Miguel & J. Cole]

[Miguel:]
Would you believe me if I said I’m in love?
Baby, I want you, to want me
Would you believe me if I said I’m in love?
Baby, I want ya, yeah!

[J. Cole:]
And we are, we are, we are
Got me up all night
And we are, we are, we are
All I’m singin’ is love songs
And we are, we are, we are
Got me up all night
And we are, we are, we are
She got me
And we are, we are, we are
She got me

[Hook 1: J. Cole]
Got me up all night, (all night) all I’m singin’ is love songs
She got me up all night, (all night) constant drinkin’ and love songs
She got me up all night, (all night) down and out with these love songs
She got me up all night, (all night) drownin’ out with these love songs
She got me up all night, (yeah) all I’m singin’ is love songs
She got me up all night, (yeah) constant drinkin’ and love songs
She got me up all night, (yeah) down and out with these love songs
She got me open all night, (uh-huh) got me open all night (hey)

[Outro: Johnny Blaze]
Back when I was in love with my neighbour’s niece…