J. Cole certainly had a 2016 to remember.
His album 4 Your Eyez Only became another smash hit, and his popularity has grown by leaps and bounds. This isn’t Cole’s first bout with stardom: he has been making R&B hits his entire career. So with the Billboard Music Awards coming up, we decide to pay homage to J. Cole’s discography by giving you the Top 10 songs of his career. While your list may differ a bit, we can all agree that the hip-hop world has indeed turned into “Cole’s World.”
Before J. Cole really blew up, he was a regional sensation that had the tools to make it big. One of his earlier hits, “Can’t get Enough,” displayed the lyrical depth and tight beats that music heads worldwide can now not get enough of.
2. “Who Dat”
If you were alive to remember the old “106 & Park” back in 2010, you will no doubt remember that “Who Dat,” which featured Cole walking the streets of his hometown of Fayetteville, NC, being the “New Joint of the Day.” Man, how time flies.
Let’s check off this single as one of J. Cole’s most underrated. “Crooked Smile” is a heartbreaking rap that was accompanied by an event more gut-wrenching video that peers into the soul of this man’s lyrical talents.
Not all of an artist’s best tracks have to be official singles. The non-singles contain a wealth of hidden diamonds, and for J. Cole, one of those pretty diamonds that wasn’t completely unearthed was “Forbidden Fruit,” which is seductive in its beat and its lyrics.
Here is another hidden diamond from J. Cole, this time from his early year mixtapes. In 2009, Cole was just beginning to pin down his sound, and “Lights Please” was a slow-burner that went a long way to pointing the way to stardom for this Tar Heel prince.
Few of the hip-hop stars of today have brought such a depth of emotional and sonic effectiveness as J. Cole has done, and the old-school funk of “Nobody’s Perfect” is proof positive of Cole’s lyrical genius. It also doesn’t hurt to have Missy Elliott on your track, either.
7. “She Knows”
J. Cole has certainly built up an impressive list of classics, but when it comes to his videos, these bad boys are mini-movie epics, such as the case with “She Knows,” which teaches the lesson that skipping school is not the cool thing to do, for obvious reasons.
J. Cole can rap at any speed. He has already proved that he can do the slow and mid-tempo burner, and with “Mr. Nice Watch,” he has proven that he can do the fast pace tempo as well to equally devastating effect.
9. “Deja Vu”
J. Cole has come a long way from his humble days as an underground sensation in the Carolinas. Today, everyone knows Cole’s name, but he hasn’t lost his core principles on what makes great hip-hop, as “Deja Vu” can easily refresh those of who J. Cole is all about.
10. “Wet Dreamz”
Remember earlier when we mentioned how deep J. Cole’s videos to his songs were? Well, that rings especially true on “Wet Dreamz,” which uses the meeting of two dogs as a way of getting his message across. J. Cole is simply a hip-hop genius that should be treasured.
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