Let me get right to it; from the perspective of an objective fan, you could use a little help. What an incredible talent you have and to see yet another gifted young artist drift down the path of poor choices, hurts.
You see, there are plenty of us that are really rooting for you to win in this complicated game of music, but you need guidance, my friend. I read the blogs, as should you. The feedback you’ve received to your choices thus far has been generally underwhelming.
It’s pretty well-known that Who Dat, both song and video, weren’t all that great (the video was wrong on so many levels—from wardrobe to location). I have all confidence in that whoever recommended that to you as a single, has since been fired. Work Out, on the other hand, has received mixed reviews—way more bad than good from what I’ve seen—and maybe that’s encouraging to you, but at the end of the day, a hit is a hit. Truthfully, even your approach to the selection of an album title was, to me, an overthought process with unfulfilling results. Cole World: The Sideline Story? Mehh.
But, let me give credit where it’s due. Your mixtape, Friday Night Lights was a pretty dope collection of material. The songs were classic Cole and what the fans have come to know you for. The newer “Can’t Get Enough” jawn with Trigga is promising. Also, this rumored mixtape with fellow newcomer, Kendrick Lamar, is exciting in an underground Watch the Throne kind of way.
Speaking of the “Throne,” in several conversations, I’ve also questioned why Jay-Z hasn’t had a more visible presence in your budding career. One would think that, as the 1st investment and signee to Roc Nation, the impact of Hov’s public support would be a no-brainer, but you guys have been so far apart, I’ve almost forgotten about your business ties.
With that said, be advised that your choices are just indicative of a young artist who needs help. Your interviews portray such an intelligent young man (SJU, stand up), but your track record proves that you don’t have all of the answers. Whatever the case, we’re rooting for you. We don’t want you to go “pop” or to simply take a more formulaic approach to your records (you don’t need a feature from Rick Ross or Rihanna); we know that that isn’t you. But changes are necessary. Here are a few suggestions:
- Stop producing all of your songs. You’re a talented producer, but oddly, sometimes J. Cole the rapper and J. Cole the producer don’t have the greatest chemistry.
- Get Shawn involved. It would be great to see and Executive Producer credit given to Jay-Z, but most of all, he’s the greatest resource in the industry. Utilize his song-making knowledge.
- Refrain from singing…please and thank you. I say this constructively–either commit to clean, solid vocals or don’t do it all. Sorry, but the I-know-I-can’t-sing-so-I’ll-playfully-half-ass-it approach should have few and far between attempts. It’s becoming an ill-received trend in your music (“or is it just a hit and ruuuun.”) Lawd, no.
- Yes, you DO need features. Be reminded that collaborations expand the reach of your small but growing fan base. Besides, same-song competition has historically brought out the best in you.
- Lastly, re-think your circle of advisors. Admittedly, they aren’t the worst, but they certainly aren’t the greatest. And you could be.