Thursday, January 12th, 2017

J. Cole – Deja Vu

Another hit for this guy, whom we find extremely interesting as you can see.


Micha Cavaseno: In the world of mid-brow pseud rap, J. KOLL has had a great amount of success despite no real growth. Not to say he isn’t having a wonderfully successful career of going platinum with no features, but even since his debut mixtape it’s been a lot of the same. Earnest attempts at storytelling hamstrung by a lack of attention to detail or an inability to convey feeling, over generically ‘soulful’ production that with each passing year becomes an island in itself with how unwilling he feels with engaging the ever changing landscape of rap. “Deja Vu” isn’t too different from that, beyond some weird Tupac mimicry. Its an aimless sort of ramble about being someone who wants to be recognized for their imposed importance, right down to yelling he wants his audience to put two fingers in the sky “if you wanna”. He can’t even convince himself to convince you to follow his lead.

Alfred Soto: He’s a bore, so the accusations of plagiarism can only humanize him. He can’t eroticize a small town fantasy girl for whom he has no small amount of contempt and can’t convey the hunger of a young man constrained by the small town. Does this explain the Tupac imitation?

Crystal Leww: Everytime J. Cole releases a new album, I’m always shocked by how popular J. Cole really is, but the chart numbers are pretty clear: 4 Your Eyez Only gave J. Cole his 4th #1 album, and “Deja Vu” debuted at #7 on the Hot 100 when it came out. It may be falling quickly, but still, J. Cole has proven that being a serviceable rapper with a dedicated following will keep you around sales and chart wise, even if you’ve become the butt of jokes from those outside of your fandom. J. Cole is J. Cole at his J. Cole-iest self on “Deja Vu”: hitting on some girl who’s taken with little to no shame over a beat that could lull you to sleep even after an espresso. I think this is boring, but I don’t think it matters at this point; J. Cole is here forever. 

Ryo Miyauchi: The “small town/bigger dreams” hook sounds clever, I admit, though it’s pretty shallow thinking it through some more. Is he really looking out for her, or is he only feeling this way because she’s with him? Is it legit concern or simple jealousy over ego? There’s a difference between “she deserves much better” and “I can be  such a better man to her,” and I’m not feeling the former from him as much as the latter.

Katherine St Asaph: J. Cole remains a boredom singularity, capable of making the most shameless of girl-stealing negging sound anodyne.

Will Rivitz: It’s bad enough to wallow in narcissism and self-pity when talking about a girl you like who doesn’t like you back for a whole goddamn verse, but if you’ve somehow garnered some sympathy from this graceless display of purported introspection you shouldn’t follow it up by calling Sour Grapes on her and moving on to the next girl, who a) is taken (why would you have enough scruples to not take the woman from the first verse away from her man but that all goes out the window when a girl who is, and I’m almost directly quoting here, “a hundred on a scale from one to ten” is standing a few feet away from you? Are you going to embrace the skeeze or congratulate yourself for not stooping that low? You can’t do both!) and b) you haven’t even met yet. Extra minus points for the following lines. Exhibit A: “You a star–no, not the type that snort the white lines / I mean the type to light the night time.” Exhibit B: “I can see the promised land / But I can’t do no promising.” Exhibit C: this seven-line monstrosity from the end of the second verse. Fuck this song.

Megan Harrington: The flip side of boring is consistent and comforting — J. Cole doesn’t always demand my full attention but I tend to reward him with it because he doesn’t tax my patience. “Deja Vu” is a row of suburban homes on a chilly fall night, each radiating equal warmth and familiarity. This is his truest strength, making every facet of his song feel like the home you’ve always known. 

Reader average: [5.5] (2 votes)

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