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  • Writer's pictureKeiran Frantic

RAWview: J Cole - Might Delete Later

We all love a surprise drop from a superstar, don't we? On Friday, 5th April, J. Cole, the feature killer, blessed us with just that. "Might Delete Later" arrived, a 12-track EP with features from Central Cee, Cam'ron, Ab-Soul, Gucci Mane, Ari Lennox, and longtime collaborator Bas. This stacked EP is one I can't wait to dive into. Let's go!

Normally, with my RAWview's, I'd start from the beginning and work track by track, giving my unfiltered thoughts as the song plays. But today, we're doing things a bit differently. The last track, "7 Minute Drill," is the lead single and Cole is responding to Kendrick's bars on Future's album. It's only right that we start there.

J Cole

Track 12 - "7 Minute Drill" : The beat kicks in with a bounce, and DJ Drama's voice sets the classic tone. Cole approaches the beat with calm control, exuding the confidence we're used to from Drake in these situations. There's extra emphasis on his delivery; he wants us to feel every word. This track is a direct message to Kendrick, with Cole mentioning his album trajectory and calling Kendrick out for attention-seeking. The beat switches up to a 90s Mobb Deep style, fitting Cole's flow perfectly. "Your arms too short to box with the god," a classic Nas reference from Cole, solidifying this as a real rap beef. It's Nas vs Jay Z 2024. Cole continues with jabs like "4 Albums in 12 years," a nod to Jay's past shots at Nas' album output. Cole is asserting himself as Nas & Jay Z of this era, boasting flow, content, swag, and confidence. There's no slowing down as Cole wraps up this warning shot with interlocked rhymes and bursting metaphors. This is masterful! In the last decade, we've seen great warning shots from Drake, Pusha, Meek, and more, but this one might be my new favourite. If Kendrick is ready for war, this could be a battle for the ages.

Now, let's get back to business with Track 1 - "Pricey ft. Ari Lennox, Young Dro & Gucci Mane" : Gucci on the hook, Cole starts with an articulate verse. It's classic Cole production, with powerful modern drums and eerie 90s synth, reminiscent of the Middle Child. The second verse, though, isn't as clean as we'd expect. It's a solid start to the EP, but it might have fit better later in the tracklist. Shout out to Gucci's spoken word ending, though. That was unexpected.

Track 2 - "Crocodile Tearz" : Cole's delivery here shows he's been hanging around with Drake on tour. There's a new energy in his flow. We know Cole can rap, but sometimes he lacks the captivation. "Whole click, getting slid on, you’re a mouse pad" - Nice. "Yes sir it's me, not 2, not 3, the UNO, G-O-A-T, I need my fee, fuck kudos." Cole's in his element! He might be the first rapper to successfully Drake Drake, taking elements from Aubrey's style and making it his own. Anyone trying to tell me that line about the girl with too many followers isn't straight out of Drake's book?

Track 3 - "Ready '24 ft. Cam'ron" : This one caught my eye from the tracklist. It's a new take on Cam'ron’s classic 'I’m Ready', confirming Cole's status as the ‘Middle Child’ bridging 2000s rap and now. He starts with confidence, peeking over the beat with a powerful delivery. The headphones were definitely loud when he recorded this one! It's a stark contrast to Killa Cam’s cool verse. Honestly, I prefer Cam's approach; he captivates with charisma rather than power. Cam wins this round.

Track 4 - "Huntin’ Wabbitz" : Starting with an Elmer Fudd sample, this track's beat is love at first listen. I'd bet T Minus is involved; those smooth drums always hit right. Cole shows his skill, handling the flow like Future, gliding rhythmically along the 808s.

Track 5 - "H.Y.B ft. Bas & Central Cee" : Who would've thought Cench would be on a track with Cole? This tour with Drake has clearly influenced Cole's music. The UK type beat suits Cole's first verse well. He handles it with his signature double-time delivery, leaving space for the beat to breathe. Cench is comfortable on this instrumental, delivering his flow effortlessly. The lyrics could've been crafted better. I left the song wishing it was the same, but with Dave as the feature instead.

Track 6 - "Fever" : This track is a departure from Cole's usual style. I'm not sure how I feel about it yet. The production, courtesy of ATL Jacob, is on point, and Cole's melodies are solid. But doesn't this feel like a Drake song? Am I tripping? There's no mention of Drake in the credits, so he's either ghostwriting or Cole's been heavily influenced by the tour. I like it though. Interesting.

Track 7 - "Sticks N Stones" : Back to Cole World! Alchemist on the beat, Cole with his double-time flow and a cheeky chorus. This track feels like a polished version of what we heard on Born Sinner and Forest Hill Drives.

Track 8 - "Pi ft. Daylyt & Ab Soul" : A real 90s-00s vibe from the start. Shoutout to Daylyt for the classy production. This one's for the true rap fans, with bars back to back from Daylyt and Ab Soul that rival Kiss & Styles in their prime. Cole closes out the cypher, no partner needed. Clean, articulate, witty, and poetic - everything we love about Cole in one verse.

Track 9 - "Stealth Mode ft. Bas" : Bas always brings out a different side of Cole when they collaborate. A new sonic direction with a playful flow and boisterous topics. This one's a bop, a subtle drill beat that Cole handles effortlessly.

Track 10 - "3001" : Mike Will Made It & T Minus take us back to 90s-00s rap. The chorus feels like vintage N.E.R.D, with Cole's verses fierce and skillful, blending Busta Rhymes, Jay Z & Wayne. Dope.

Track 11 - "Trae The Truth in Ibiza" : Luxurious production and a Jigga type intro, as Cole talks about Private Jets. Unexpectedly, Cole unleashes his double-time flow over this smooth instrumental. It's reflective and honest, intended to be the EP outro before Kendrick dropped that verse and Cole had to hit the booth again!

As I wrap up this review, "7 Minute Drill" plays in the background. You can really feel that 'Like That' disrupted Cole’s peace. Trae the Truth closed the EP in style, hinting at the anticipated Fall Off Album. And then Cole gets a call about a diss.

All in all, this is a strong release from J. Cole. Sonically, it pushes his music to new heights. Cole's come a long way since his 'boring' commercial beginnings. He's tirelessly worked on his craft, finding new flows, cadences, melodies, and styles. His pen remains sharp, addressing social injustice, personal growth, and humility. Cole's now in his prime, ready for any tempo, able to feature with any artist, standing shoulder to shoulder. There's an undeniable Drake/OVOsound influence here, not surprising given their close tour quarters. I'm eager to see how this affects the sonics on Cole's much-anticipated 'Fall Off' Album. My score for this EP? 9/10


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