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RU - Is J. Cole the dullest dude in rap?

Is it a crime to be perhaps the most boring rapper in recent memory? Not technically, but considering that J. Cole is now being sold to the world as an “A-list” rapper dude, he’s representative of a wider problem. While I’ve previously bemoaned the scenario where rap sidekicks such as French Montana and Big Sean have snuck into the spotlight, Cole is the poster child for everybody who decided that lacking any discernible personality, charisma or star quality should not be an obstacle preventing them from becoming an entertainer. If you can work hard enough and operate beneath the radar for a certain period of time, the public will grow to accept you as part of the scenery. They will be willing to overlook your obvious lack of any noteworthy or interesting qualities just because you bothered to turn up for work. Call it the Sandra Bullock Theory.

It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of the new school of emotional rappers. But, if that’s the path that you’ve chosen for yourself, at least go all the way with it. While Drake is an easy target for “sensitive thug” jokes, you can’t deny that he’s got that whole chamber in an effin’ headlock, for better or worse. J. Cole, however, presents a watered-down version of that whole movement, incapable of balancing out the simp with equal measures of pimp, and too self-conscious to make any brag rapping even remotely convincing. While Drake is outchea drunk texting an ex, Cole is sober as a judge, planning out his next thirsty comment to leave on her Facebook wall in his My Little Pony diary (which came with a free sparkly lip-gloss).

Just because you’ve figured out how to rap at a technically acceptable standard doesn’t mean that you should, by any means. If you’ve got nothing new, amusing, disturbing or entertaining to bring to bring to the table then you’re just wasting everyone’s time. The puzzling thing is, Born Sinner – which went head-to-head with Yeezus back in June – went gold, so Jermaine clearly has people who fux with his music. But does that mean that he has over 500,000 actual ‘fans’, or were they just filling in time until Nothing Was The Same dropped? Have you ever seen folks quoting Cole lines on Twitter? Can anybody actually name one distinguishing feature about this guy, other than the fact that was lame enough to make a song titled Let Nas Down?

The very fact that an MC would be so butt-hurt about hearing that another rapper didn’t like one of his songs that he would write an entire track about it is emblematic of just how low hip-hop has sunk. You know what you’re supposed to do if someone shits on your music? Fire back, for fuck’s sake! But no, dude wants to hide under his blanket and sob into his pillow about it like a girl in 5th grade who wasn’t invited to her BFF’s birthday party, instead of accepting the challenge to puff his chest out and prove Nas wrong. If you feel like wallowing in self pity, staring at the moon while feeling blue and not answering the phone on Friday night when the your friends are hitting the bar so that you can catch up Gilmore Girls re-runs over a tub of honeycomb ice cream, then J. Cole is providing you with the soundtrack to your life. I’ll grant Cole this, though: the one area in which he has truly excelled is conquering the throne as the King of Mediocrity. Sandra would be proud.

Keep up with Robbie’s weekly ‘No Country for Old (Rap) Men’ here.