J. Cole – Truly Yours | EP Review

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Unexpectedly releasing a new EP via his Dream Villain blog, J. Cole gives fans some unreleased product to wet their tastebuds before the release of his highly anticipated sophomore project Born Sinner. Titled Truly Yours, the five-track project, which according to Cole is not to be considered a mixtape or even a preview of his upcoming album, contains music recorded at various stages during the North Carolina native’s career.

While the EP’s artwork is as simplistic as they come, the lyrical content is quite the opposite. Featuring story after story, J. Cole, by a way of wearing his heart on his sleeve, is on his way to becoming the 2013 Joe Budden. A case in point being the EP’s opening record, ‘Can I Holla At Ya’. Spitting lines over the top of Lauryn Hill’s ‘To Zion’ instrumental, Cole goes in on his ex-step father and one of his ex-homies. Anger-driven, with a hint of questioning, Cole’s words gives fans a look in to a past that perhaps he wasn’t prepared to share until now.

Paying homage to Ol’ Dirty Bastard, as well as reflecting on his own struggles and making his dreams a reality, J. Cole’s love of concepts strikes again. Looking at his own life and telling the story from the eyes of the deceased Wu-Tang Clan member, ‘Tears For ODB’ hears the NC rhymer drop some reflective gems. Spitting, “I was sent from heaven with a set of horns, they better warn y’all/ I’m here for more than just to kick some witty metaphors, dawg,” listeners are reminded of the good vs. bad moments that saw ODB make headlines on the regular.

Tracks ‘Crunch Time’, which many will recognise as using the same sample that 2Pac and Biggie used for ‘Runnin (From Tha Police)’, and ‘Rise Above’ are both dope on so many levels, and ooze typical J. Cole subject matters – love, lost, and setbacks – but it’s Cole’s entire presence on ‘Stay’ that gives fans reason enough to start considering him as one of the most important emcees of this new generation.

Listed as being recorded back in 2009, the beat on which Cole talks about the what ifs was recently used by Nas for a track of the same name taken from his 2013 Grammy Award nominated album Life Is Good. Produced by No I.D., the record itself samples L.A. Carnival’s ‘Seven Steps To Nowhere’. Whilst not quite as technical as God Son’s version, Cole does introduce a few one liners that will leave fans clapping and chuckling to themselves – “You can drop a wet floor sign down for the tears.”

Claiming to have written at least four albums worth of material, J. Cole says that this EP is a gift. If the tracks contained on Truly Yours, which is a free release, didn’t make the cut, then the question seriously needs to be asked… how good is the actual material featured on Born Sinner? Judging from reactions already, the buzz for the Roc Nation signee’s full-length second offering is almost as deep as Kendrick Lamar’s good kid m.A.A.d. city; and everybody knows how that went.

Download: J. Cole – Truly Yours EP

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