Review: J. Cole - Friday Night Lights

Rating – 10 out of 10 [Editor's note: upon second thought, and deliberation, the staff opted to change the review to 10/10. Thanks to our, Twitter fam for helping finalize the decision!]

J Cole is the first signee of Roc Nation

- and might be turning into Jay Z’s best investment. J Cole’s

latest mixtape Friday Night Lights

was released this past Friday to a hype unseen of a free mixtape in

almost two years. The mixtape was almost impossible to find for

a time – in an era where download sites are as popular and diverse

as skittles. Friday Night Lights lines up to be J Cole’s

third mixtape – the others being The Come Up (2007)

and The Warm Up (2009) – with all of the previous being critically

acclaimed pieces of music. With Friday Night Lights

J Cole has filled up the Game breaker - creating fervor of excitement

for his debut album, Cole World. 

Friday Night Lights features

20 tracks of Hip Hop in its purest form. Pleasing every fan from

purists to mainstream. Featuring little to no features – only

3 on the main album (aside from the bonus G.O.O.D Friday release “Looking

for Trouble”) – including production credits, J Cole’s mixtape

is an excellent flexing of the musical ability J Cole has. It

starts with the tranquil self entitled entrance track “Friday Night

Lights”, which ends with the thesis for the entire project – “What

good is being “The One” when you’re the only one that knows it?”. 

Cole represents and pays homage to

the years of Hip Hop preceding him. “Enchanted”, one of the

brightest songs on an already pearlescent mixtape, borrows the epic

chorus off of Tupac’s classic, “Hail Mary”. While staying

true to the words, Cole manages to twist meaning into the opposite of

what it is meant while still capturing its essence. With one of

the few features Omen delivers one of the best verses on the album –

a rare overshadowing of Cole- something Cole himself does to everyone


“Before I’m Gone” is a strong,

epic, ride song – spat with such hunger and meaning - speaking

of the times and struggles of everyday life. Cole has the swagger

of an intelligent college kid with the hunger and spark of a young vagabond

roaming the streets. “Villematic”, “2 Face”, and “Higher”

are all songs which make up a strong midsection – it is easy to become

lost in this mixtape. 

With the large amount of songs, it

is surprising to see J Cole hold his own as the entire tape completes

itself. J Cole’s rhyme book is deep and large as each track

is laced with complex metaphors, similes’, and alliteration – reminiscent

of his Boss, Jay Z. “Premeditated Murder” explains his ambitions

as he predicts his current and rapid ascent into the game. Cole

is confident and it works – it is almost his best aspect. Songs

like “Back to the Topic”, “See World” and “Farewell” just

give off the image of a young and dangerous rapper.

The highly anticipated Drake and Cole

collaboration, “In the Morning” left none to be desired. The song is a great showing by both artists - each artist having come

into their own – discussing a situation which might only come with

the job. While this song worked, it does not seem almost as close

to as what could have come out of collaboration between the two.

Friday Night Lights is a mixtape

with very few blemishes and faults. Cole nicely nits together

a very interesting precursor to his upcoming album “Cole World”

and it holds its own as one of the most complete mixtape of the year.

Is he “The One”? Well we do not know that yet – but Friday

Night Lights definitely has us paying attention. 

Jacques Morel is the creator of A journalist, interviewer, and personality

he is a College Senior, he attends St

Johns University in Queens.