Review: J. Cole's "Truly Yours" EP

Review: J. Cole's "Truly Yours" EP

J. Cole's surprise EP will tide fans over until his sophomore album, "Born Sinner," is ready, and it also serves up some classic bars and beats for the no-gimmicks rapper, reminding us of why we like the Cole world rapper in the first place.

J.Cole is following the formula that seems to be the norm in the rap game nowadays. In a quest to drum up some buzz for his sophomore album, the Roc Nation rapper has released some new free music. Fans were a little disappointed when Born Sinner, originally slated for a late January release, suffered a few delays. To make up for the wait, J. Cole released Truly Yours, a five-track EP.

If this is any indication of what to expect from Born Sinner, true J. Cole fans will be pleased.  The Fayetteville native's project, Truly Yours, isn't exactly a mixtape but it does feel on par with his classic project, The Warm Up. This Extended Play doesn't contain the radio-friendly records we heard on Cole World, but they're cuts from Cole that haven't been touched by the label process- as he said, they didn't quite make his sophomore album.

Truly Yours opens with "Can I Holla At Ya," a freestyle that borrows Ms. Lauryn Hill's "To Zion" beat and couples it with Tupac's "Against All Odds," a bold statement that sets the bar high. The fact that Cole would choose a song that Ms. Hill dedicated to her son, to address his father who cowardly abandoned him and his mother when he was a child, is not overlooked.

J. Cole has a knack for rhyming in first person and second-hand narratives, a rare talent shared with Kendrick Lamar. He weaves his trials, tribulations and experiences on wax with ease. Listening to a Cole song is like listening to an audio version of the diary of his life. Words of wisdom and little nuggets of knowledge are sprinkled throughout the EP: "The only thing worse than debt is a regret filled coffin."

In "Crunch Time," J. Cole takes us back to his broke days, when he had no choice but to throw the gear into overdrive because "shit is real and a nigga got bills." The previously released "Stay" finds a home on this project as well; fitting right in with the soulful and soul-bearing flow of the album.

The best and most thought-provoking song on the EP is "Tears For ODB." J. Cole paints a bleak picture of reality, telling it straight up: "Tears for ODB, Drug induced poetry/What's the use? Strung out from that drug abuse, Woe is me."

Truly Yours achieves exactly what J. Cole set out to do: whet the appetites of his fans and as he preps to feed the masses with Born Sinner, while simultaneously reminding everyone of his position within the rap game.

Listen/download Truly Yours below.

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