Updated: Nov 25, 2020
In his triumphant return, the North Carolina native, J.Cole, dropped a short EP Lewis Street which featured two singles, The Climb Back and Lion King On Ice. These two songs serve as lead singles to his upcoming album The Fall Off which will likely be Cole's last album before retirement-if not a cheap stunt for publicity.
Although behind the scene, the seeds of the Fall off have been sown for a while in Cole’s career. In an interview with Angie Marie, in 2018, Cole talks about how he’s been working on The Fall Off for nearly two years and even says that some of the songs such as False Prophets and Everybody Dies were supposed to be on his next studio album. This means The Fall Off could contain traces of all his albums from the last four years; For Your Eyes Only, KOD, and Revenge of the Dreamers III. It was even hinted on KOD’s outro song, “1985 (Intro to ‘The Fall Off’)” where he raps about the rise and potential folly of up-and-coming mumble rappers to conclude the story of KOD and introduce The Fall Off, Possibly hinting at its subject matter.
The pressure is on for Cole. As it is his last album, there are high hopes in the air for Cole to finally fulfill his potential. Throughout his thirteen-year-long professional career, Cole has suffered from inconsistency, and the inability to strike a sentimental chord in his fans with a lackluster subject matter. Perhaps inconsistent at times, Cole’s ability to rap stands supreme compared to his contemporaries, his production more often than not is good, so it begs the question..what is holding J Cole back from being the Artist that he should be? My answer is himself. Over the past couple of years, J Cole has taken on the role of the "wokesperson" (woke spokesperson) of rap as to reprimand superficial rap about success, gold, and jewelry, yet not quite so woke to rap about actual underlying issues in pop culture and the world like Kendrick Lamar and Jay Z. And with his narratives and stories to tell running dry, the senior rapper is left without any inspiration and burnt-out. In my opinion, If Cole could dig deep on this album, and deliver an introspective piece or a recounting of the ups and downs of his career, whilst rapping over the same jazzy-hip-hop beats with soul, it could be really good, but if he continues to suffer from ‘Cole syndrome’ and stays stuck in the crossroads without substance his goodbye-album could be a bust.
On The Climb Back, J.Cole raps over a smooth, sampled hip-hop beat while flexing his lyrical prowess and flow; and on Lion King On Ice, he raps over another sampled beat with drums that kick harder. Overall the critical reception of the two singles was positive: a good sign.
Article by Huey