Step aside, Drake

Who in the fuck is this guy J. Cole, and how did he go from being entirely unheard of to being all over Vibe magazine’s favorite hip-hop blogs since, like, Friday?

I know he’s the main guy signed to Jay-Z’s new label, Roc Nation, and I guess the TIs gave him a big PR push at the end of last week. I checked Rap Pravda a few minutes ago, looking for something else, and I see he’s got a new mixtape out today, and someone in the comments section there says they’re gonna be at a show he’s doing in New York tonight. Does this mean he’s gonna be the new Drake, whatever that means?

For the sake of not waiting until too late in the afternoon to come up with something to write about, which is frowned upon here at XXL, I’ve outlined a few problems J. Cole might have in his career, without actually listening to his music, or knowing whether anyone else is gonna bother listening to his music.

Without further ado…

1) His name is J. Cole.

That’s even lamer than Drake. But at least in Drake’s case, he can claim that that’s what people usually call him, and he didn’t want to get a different rap name. Like, if I decided to become a rapper, to fulfill this notion that any hip-hop blogger, especially one with a point of view, is really just a failed rapper, I might just go by Bol. But I certainly wouldn’t go by B. Crawford. What kind of lame shit is that? Is it from Diddy calling himself P. Diddy?

2) The TIs already have him in their tentacles.

Again, Drake did it the right way. Supposedly, he’s yet to sign with a major label, and his price might be as high as $2 million, probably because he sounds like a budget Lil’ Wayne, and Tha Carter III sold did a milli. He better try to pocket as much of that 2 mill as possible, and hope it doesn’t go to pay the clowns who run his fake social networking site that no one uses, and the people who send out spam email, and all of the other various forms of major label graft I’ve been trying to expose. J. Cole, meanwhile, is already signed to Roc Nation, Jay-Z’s vanity imprint/tax write-off over at Epic.

Which brings us to…

3) He’s on Roc Nation.

I knew Roc Nation was gonna be a graveyard even before I found out about the shenanigans that led it to be signed to Epic, rather than a legit rap label. The dead giveaways were the fact that Jay-Z never signed anyone worthwhile to Roc-A-Fella, he just tried to run off the people Dame signed; and the fact that Jay knew better than to put out his own album on Roc Nation.

4) Rappers who emerge from the Internets seem especially vulnerable to hate.

You see what happened to Asher Roth, and Charles Hamilton, and Wale, and the Cool Kids, and so on and so forth. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not like I sit around and come up with ways to make hipster rappers look questionable. You guys should know I would never exert that much effort. It’s just that a lot of these guys are easy to make fun of, and then when you do, there aren’t a whole lot of stans to jump to their defense, because they aren’t as genuinely popular as they are ubiquitous on the Internets. Then you end up with a situation like Charles Hamilton, where I’m hearing that the TIs are considering not bothering to release his album, perhaps due in part to this series of PR kerfuffles. I don’t know much at all about J. Cole, but… well, just look at the cover of his new mixtape.

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  • Pierzy

    You answered the question of your 1st paragraph with the first line of your 2nd paragraph. The same reason why people knew who Tru Life was…for a day.

    • Syler

      Pierzy, have you checked this dude out yet? I haven’t personally, I’m just lookin to hear your thoughts.

      Obviously within a week’s span he’s got more posts about him on XXLA than anyone other than Drake probably. In my mind Drake’s got talent (I haven’t heard enough to crown him anything however), and this guy may too, but the overssaturation of these guys is insane.

      • Pierzy

        What up Syler – Nah, not really…I’ve heard OF him a lot and there have been little things here and there but I haven’t given him an honest listen. However, according to people I really respect, he’s okay but nothing spectacular. I’ll definitely take a listen for myself, though…

        By the way, I finally listened to your personal shit and I co-sign all the rest of the group that were feelin’ it. Keep it up.

        • Syler

          No doubt, good looks. I should have the whole revamped album available for free in a couple weeks (buncha new songs). Hopefully I’ll soon get some shine up in here. Granted, not TOO much shine though, because we see what happens with the onslaught of PR.

        • Pierzy

          Yeah you don’t want that Asher Roth publicity. Ha!

        • Syler


        • hdouglas

          have you given him an honest listen yet…dude has reached drake-like status…while drake has reached wayne-like status…

    • boozec

      Tru Life!! ha ha.. I was trying to remember that name just this mornming.. remembering some dude who’s music I still haven’t heard got some sort of 6 figure deal by Jay z and was beefing with dipset.

  • Black

    This nigga can rap but his shit just seems boring to me. I got The Come Up but I might pass on his new joint.

    • andy

      i know im supper l8 wit a comment but his new joint the warm up is WAY better than the come up. He goes hard in a way throughout that whole mixtape without getting high lol.

  • $ykotic

    Another “anointed” one. Great.

  • C. Hop

    ….Medium Zane.

  • C-Hyphen

    This dude got skills period. Listen to what he’s spittin’ at least…dude has been grindin’ and he’s a beast. F*ck who he signed to and what label he on.

  • westcoastaggie

    You may not like Drake but I think that he is a really good artist. I think that So Far Gone is one of the best Mixtape/Album/Mixtape to come out this year.

    I hope J. Cole’s is as good as So Far Gone if not better. He is just as good as Drake if not better.

    BTW: its refreshing to read something positive on an artist then your usual Diabolical Hatred towards current musicians out today. U either just love to hate and poke fun at others or you guys have set such a high bar that no one will ever reach your expectations.

    I think it’s a lil of both.

    • BIGNAT

      that so far gone was good but it was not what i expected. you know i was thinking there was going be more rap on it.

  • thabest1

    stop using the term hipster rap its so ignorant to put good hip hop in a category where it cannot thrive, you really fucking nitpick with stupid shit with what I have seen with your blogs.

  • My_Pops_Son

    How about actually listening to the music? That’s a crazy idea I know, but the dude is actually very nice on the mic. Lyrically he raps circles around Drake or a lot of these other “internet” artists.

    • D.A.S.

      j.cole way better than drake, if u think not then u obviously dont know what hip hop is

  • Jame

    Dude is decent but I don’t know why Jay would make him the first signee to his triple-digit million $ venture. Doesn’t make sense. He’s nice but not THAT nice. I have the first mixtape and kind of zoned out after the first 7 tracks or so. I don’t think anyone making noise on the Web will ever become the big star it seems that they could be from the web hype. It’s a different game. Asher got press for fn MONTHS before his album from every corner of the media and pushed what like 100K to date, maybe? Everyone waited for the Em diss but I honestly think Em could care less because he knew when the gears started moving for Relapse, that coverage alone would x out Asher before Relapse even dropped. Point is, the stars that are in the industry now will need to keep things moving because no one new, as of now, will ever have that shine. Rant over.


    “Does this mean he’s gonna be the new Drake, whatever that means?”

    Bol, nigga u crack me up! i wanna see u @ the next Player Haters Ball.

  • LB

    I agree with you that a lot of these cats are underrated and highly hated over the Internet, some deservingly so. But I think much of that has to do with the general market still unaccepting of indies over a “major” stamp of approval; same ole’ shit since the turn of the 90s. Think about it; you’d (in general) show luv to some cat name Baby Who Dat just because he’s has a “Def Jam” or “Warner Bros.” stamp, but show less luv to a dude that might be waaay tighter and have more relevance but he’s on Rinky Dink Records.

  • Avenger XL

    J cole= memphis bleek. Jiggas newest tax right off on his vanity label or rapper graveyard. They will bury him next to the career of O and Sparks, yung guns plus state property.

  • Tyler

    Mr. BoL: Look U Fruits, our lil’ Boy has grown the fuck up, right before our eyes. .
    BoL, why have U quietly become the greatest Blogger ever?
    Now all U gotta do is use your many talents to find and help support sum of this real talent that is at your finger tips my Dude. Shall I say, BoLNation? Since you are so lazy then just pay someone 2 listen thru all the emails of music you get on the regular cause I promise that there is some real heat there if a Ninja like yourself will just put in a little work ya’ dig. Nonetheless, U truly are the best. Now I think I just threw up a lil’ bit in my mouth.
    Yours Truly,





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  • Hec Diddy

    Don’t get me wrong Drake is a good artist, but he can come off as alil pop sometimes. J. cole is straight up hip-hop, and you can’t say that for most of these “rappers” that are in the game.

    listen to j.cole’s new shit The Warm Up……… it’s the best thing out

  • nydblockny

    you are ignorant. what is the point of posting this article bashing an up and coming musician without listening to his music? listen to the warm up and then make a judgment. or you could sit in front of your laptop and continue to be a miserable person whose only talent involves gossiping about how you hate new music. you’re entitled to an opinion, listen to the mixtape first, then make a call. The Warm Up is the best mixtape dropped this year and it’s better then any album that I have PURCHASED in the past few years.

  • F.F.

    The Come Up was okay.. This Warm Up though is on some whole other shit.. So much better.. He grew up musically and lyrically from one mixtape to the next.. Listen to the Warm Up before you comment about some shit he made two years ago..

  • drake

    bet byrons eating his words now, shud apologize to j cole

  • wow

    this is an example of irresponsible journalism at it’s finest.

    XXL should really fire this man, I mean your really writing an article about J. Cole and you havnt even HEARD him yet?

    “i dont know much at all about j. cole but…”

    How do you work for a hip-hop magazine and NOT know much about J. Cole??? This dude has been all over the place for the past 2 years..

    A shame how there are people in high positions that are so un-involved in the culture.. get it together Byron Crawford …