Friday Night Lights
So here we are..so here we are..after months of waiting, J. Cole drops his much anticipated mixtape, Friday Night Lights, and it doesn’t disappoint. In fact, it surpasses my personal expectations. I’ve been a fan of J. Cole for about a year & a half now after I first heard his second mixtape, The Warm Up, and I had high hope for this mixtape.
After getting home from work about 11pm Friday night, my first priority was to get what I had already deemed the mixtape of the year. As I downloaded it to my laptop, I cut off the television and grabbed my headphones as I wanted to give it an undisturbed first listen. When the Fridays Nights Intro came on, I knew this was going to be what I had become accustomed to hearing, soulful instrumentals massacred by a raspy, Southern accent. It doesn’t shock me that you can still hear the hunger in voice, the desire seems present as ever.
As the track changed, Too Deep For The Intro began to play. My head was instantly nodding back and forth and when I heard the Erykah Badu loop, I fell into a deep trance. Cole raps about personal experiences that vary from his childhood, his first time, and how he began to wild out after his first sexual experience. He ends this song with one more the most quote worthy lyrics on the mixtape
"I gotta make a move, I gotta do this now. if they don’t know your dreams, than they cant shoot em down”
I hadn’t even made it through the first official track and I was convinced that Cole World was ready for a takeover. All of his songs have the same type of laid back Southern feel that has become his signature sound, however it never gets old. Before I’m Gone and Back To The Topic (Freestyle) both explain of how his hometown issues that still plague him to be concerned with his community.
Up next is You Got It featuring Wale. I had EXTREMELY high expectations for this song after the two collaborated on Wale’s Beautiful Bliss, however I was slightly disappointed. I believe they did a great job on the song with what seems to be the answer to Drake’s Fancy, but I just expected something different. Beautiful Bliss was a classic hip-hop track, while You Got It seems more of a pop track to gain more female listeners. Regardless, its still a solid track.
After that track was the first time I had a negative opinion of anything Cole had done, but as soon as I heard the Devil In A Dress instrumental. My disappointment was quickly overturned by anticipation of what he would do on Villematic. Cole bodied this track. With lines like,
"Trying to do this sh-t better than the n-ggas
we grew up on, name a f-cking song I aint threw up on”
“the thought of losing a good woman keep me from chasin’
but I’m just a man, at time’s the timing is wrong
plus my d-ck is like a man with a mind of it’s own
but I’m trying to be strong, remind myself she ain’t about sh-t
these hoes the same, all that change is the outfit
Its dangerously clear that Cole is taking no prisoners this time around and lets you know his lyrical fire has yet to be matched and definitely not doused.
Enchanted begins to play and he reminds you of why he is compared so often to 2Pac after borrowing a melody from Hail Mary , he paints vivid tells of how the surroundings he grew up around were far from peachy keen. Omen, the featured artists, does a wonderful job of competing with Cole and in some opinions, actually upstages the rising star.
Blow Up, begins to play and most of fans are all too familiar with this song. It’s the only one on the mixtape that has visuals. I’ll skip this since many people have heard and analyzed the track to no end. Short version, Cole reminds you with tracks like this why you fell in love with his music in the first place.
Higher is another song for the ladies. This song too has been out for quite some time. It’s definitely better for me than You Got It, but most likely because my expectations were through the roof for that one. Although the song is for the ladies, the beat is so infectious, you don’t even want to change the song. If you’re a man, you’re rewarded by the third verse as he finally speaking of the thoughts of many men.
In The Morning, the mixtape’s most anticipated tracks for many, is by far the most disheartening of all the songs on the mixtape for myself. Besides a little added bass and a different 3rd verse, it’s the same track released months ago. The sole reason this track is so overhyped is because of a guest appearance by Drake. The reason I believe I’m so disappointed is because he removed arguably his best verse to accommodate the Canadian star. This is by no means a shot against Drake, while I’m not a big fan personally, he does the track justice. I’m just bitter he changed a good track for Mr. Graham. Cole could have MURDERED Drake. His lyrical ability is light years ahead of Drake and it seems he let Drake purposely shine on his song. In my opinion, he should ATE Drake and showed everyone that he’s the superior musician and let the pieces fall where they may, but I’m just one man with an opinion.
2Face reminds me a little of Switch by Lupe Fiasco. It seems this track is simply Cole talking to Cole. It’s like he’s having an inner battle with himself during the track. Why he desires material things, why God lets bad things happen to those already less fortunate and his foolish decisions in his youth. In the final verse, Cole discusses a personal conversation with himself during sexual encounter while not using a condom. I can’t even describe how EPIC that verse is. Just go listen.
Autograph is another excellent track. I won’t review it so you’ll go listen. (Childish I know, but you need to listen to it.)
Best Friend is what seems to be J. Cole just messing around. It’s an old Aaliyah song that he just wanted to vibe with. He spits very briefly and the rest is Aaliyah.
Cost Me A Lot is a bragadocious track that one would expect from a young man who’s recently run into cash. However, once again, he does a common thing in an uncommon way. This is no Mike Jones track. He talks about stunting all throughout the track, but he clearly seems he’s just showing his versatility throughout the mixtape. He hasn’t done many tracks like this and I don’t think he’ll make many.
Premeditated Murder. I have no words. I heard this song months ago and it was on repeat. I still can’t get over how much I love this song. The hook just seems to be Cole emptying his heart on how he knows he needs to make it. It’s a beautiful track. Lyrics are steady as ever, but he still connects with the listener.
Home for the Holidays is Cole just saying he hasn’t forgot about the ‘Ville. He’s simply saying, “I love my city, but I’ve seen what it can do if you don’t make it out, you can be trapped.”
Love Me Not is yet ANOTHER song geared to the feminine crowd. It’s not a favorite but still good. I’m just getting tired of hearing these type of songs. Next.
See World talks about the abduction and rape of Shaniyah Davis. It’s a powerful song and I’m still a little shook up about how horrendous the act was. I’d prefer you’d go read the story and then go listen to the track. Cole basically says, “The world is no good if someone would do this to a 5 year old child.”
Farewell is the mixtape’s final song bidding you adieu. Its Cole questioning a lot of things in the future. His reputation and prayers to friends that are in heaven are among the subject for Cole.
The bonus track, Looking For Trouble, the latest of the G.O.O.D. Friday tracks, was an added plus. Everybody comes correct, but simply put, Cole won. End of story.
Overall, this mixtape was good, but too many tracks for the ladies. However, even on said tracks he kept me interested and pleased with the lyrics. Cole has a long way to go to reach the top, but he’s definitely on his way.