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Where’s J. Cole? Why Dates Don’t Matter

I circled this day on my calendar long ago.

Fine, I don’t have a physical calendar. Still, October 26 has been ingrained in my memory for months now. This was supposed to be the day when three of the events I had been most anticipating for the last I-don’t-know-how-long would finally arrive.

With my wounds still fresh from a Game 7 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in June that I know my Celtics would have won had Kendrick Perkins not gotten hurt—and should have won anyways—Boston finally takes the floor tonight to kick off the NBA regular season. The Celts are taking on the new look Miami Heat, whose summer gains of talent and widespread hate were about even. With LeBron James and Chris Bosh joining Dwyane Wade, the Heat now have three of the game’s best players, creating potentially demoralizing match ups for much of the League.

I think the Celtics are one of the few teams who won’t be demoralized and demolished by this star-studded cast of characters, though. And I can’t wait ‘til I start to find out tonight.

The best part about all of this, quite possibly, is that NBA commissioner David Stern didn’t move the date of the opening night of his League’s season. He couldn’t, shouldn’t, and wouldn’t.

The same can’t be said about the current state of rap releases.

As huge of a basketball/Celtics fan as I am, what I may have been anticipating about today even more than a new season was the release of J. Cole’s debut album. The Fayetteville-bred rapper/producer was initially given today as the date for his much anticipated release. #NoShots at any of the albums that have come out this year or are about to come out, but this is the release that I’ve been looking forward to more than any other. However, here we are, on October 26, and we still don’t even know the official title of dude’s album. Part of me likes this final piece—that he still hasn’t come out and said what the project is going to be called—because it avoids creating vacant anticipation and mysticism that surround Detox, The Greatest Story Never Told and plenty more.

But what’s it gonna take for Cole’s album to get released?

Seriously. He has a huge buzz on this here Internet; he opened for Jay and Em; he’s making the college rounds now; he has his own single, “Who Dat,” that’s doing reasonably well, and a collabo with Miguel, “All I Want Is You,” that’s been steadily climbing and just reached No. 10 on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs charts. It seems like the chips are falling in place. Are they waiting for him to have a No. 1 song or something?

The Roc Nation signee has said that he’s working on a mixtape—and as recently as last night tweeted about finishing it up—but we haven’t gotten much concrete info about it or when it’ll come out. At least he’s still giving his fans some music, though, making sure to sustain the loyalty among that core base.

He’s continuously proven that his lyricism is on another level, and is showing that he may be on track to solidify himself as one of the game’s best producers (for real, have you listened to “Blow Up”?). So can we get the album? I mean, I’m sure there’s a plan in mind, and I’m not trying to question the logic. Just consider me anxious and excited.

Then there’s Joe Budden’s Mood Muzik 4. His Mood Muzik set is my favorite of any ongoing mixtape series, and its been almost three years since he put out Mood Muzik 3—a classic mixtape to my ears. Joey has dropped an assortment of tracks and projects in the time since, but there’s just something about a Mood Muzik release. The lyricism and raw emotion have always grabbed me. Mood Muzik 4 was supposed to drop for free today, but instead, it leaked over the weekend.

Don’t get me wrong, I was happy I got the 17-song tape a few days early. It definitely didn’t disappoint. But…like…really? Album leaks are widespread now and basically part of the culture (peep the new issue of XXL for a more in-depth look at leaks), but now free mixtapes are leaking before they’re supposed to?

October 26 was supposed to be a day where I skipped work to sleep in, stay at home all day, listen to Mood Muzik 4 and J. Cole’s album for the first times, multiple times, while playing NBA 2K11 in the hours leading up to the Celtics-Heat tip.

Instead, I’ve already heard Mood Muzik 4, I’m merely hoping I get a J. Cole mixtape before year’s end, and my XBOX 360 is broken.

Dis industry is definitely somethin’. Word to Waka. —Adam Fleischer

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