I’ve been listening to J Cole and Kendricks discography the past few days to refresh my memory...

I’ve been listening to J Cole and Kendricks discography the past few days to refresh my memory etc. Few thoughts.

Cole improved a lot the past few albums as a lyricist. Between Born Sinner and KOD, I think he was trying to figure out how to make ‘commercial music’, so the sing songy stuff and more flow focus over lyricism, which lost me as I was a fan before he got signed when I saw the Who Dat video, he had a fire and raw energy and upon getting signed its like he was trying to figure out how to fit in the industry and make hit music. And I just felt Drake and Big Sean was doing that so much better. Then Kendrick did the conscious thing so much better so Cole was trying to figure out where he fit in and he even acknowledged that in recent tracks and this latest Kendrick diss (which was cool). But he’s found his stride as of recent years.

The Off Season is really good, he’s really spittin on there. Might be his best work so far?
Cole said TPAB was boring. I listen to that album occasionally but I went back to it this morning. J Cole has never had an album as layered and cohesive as this. As well produced, written and musical. I can see how it can be boring to people that only listen to hiphop and r&b, but if you have any depth to your musical taste, TPAB is in the top 50 hiphop albums ever. There’s nothing to compare it to in modern rap. It changed the game in the same ways every bonafide classic did before it and no hiphop album has since.
J Cole knows he’s been playing catch up and admits that. If 'bars’ is what you’re looking for, then I’d say Cole has definitely been giving us solid bars more consistently! He’s also given general hiphop fans more vibes as of late, Cole can fit in on playlists with a lot of contemporary rappers moreso than Kendrick rn. He’s been busier for sure bc again he’s playing catch up.
I just don’t think Cole is as good an overall hiphop artist and songwriter as Kendrick. I’ve yet to hear a song as well written and iconic as 'Alright’, or 'Money Trees’ or Backseat Freestyle’ or 'Swimming Pools’, or emotionally resonant as 'Sing About Me’ 'The Heart Part 5’ or Bitch Dont Kill My Vibe, or just flat out vibes or bangers like 'Loyalty’, Element, DNA, etc.
I really just think people have recency bias, Kendrick went quiet a bit and didn’t make any radio singles on his last project and went away from the industry in silent protest and some people forgot how impactful he was and how much of a game changer his art is. But that’s hip-hop and social media age for ya. It’s looking like Kendrick is going to remind people this year.

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