At 10 PM Thursday night, J. Co- no. Jermain- not even. Young Simba arrived once again with his new “Lewis Street” single collection for his forthcoming Fall Off album. The title itself holds weight as it’s an ode to his first childhood home before 2014 Forest Hill. If that should indicate anything, it’s that he’s coming back raw with something to reclaim. This is the Fayetteville phenom back in the gun range and ready to let the clip sing.
On the opener “The Climb Back”, J. Cole throws himself an alley-oop pass as he produces the beat and proceeds to beat it black and blue. It’s a lengthy 5-minute track but it’s the bars that make the journey is well worth the destination. The stairway path into Jermaine’s conscience is built by the self-produced track’s haunting piano keys. Every other line is a rhyme that’ll make you make you hit pause to digest. The rest of them are too complex for you to even piece together until a couple more listens.
“Under pressure, well you know what Cole do,
Make a diamond, they just rhymin’, me I’m quoting gold,
One phone call get you cancelled like a homophobe”– J. Cole
The closer “Lion King on Ice” is reassurance that J. Cole has returned with a newfound hunger inside him. Grabbing T-Minus and Jetson for co-production, he lets his fans know he’s to share the work he’s put in the offseason. The raw soul vocals sound synonymous with the struggles he dealt with growing up and getting back to his competitive form. As he re-emerges after taking time away for fatherhood, his latest inspiration is driving him to produce what could be his most well-crafted work thus far.
“I got blood on my hands, I ain’t gon’ lie
I got mud on my shoes, I ain’t gon’ lie
I got real, real big plans, I ain’t gon’ lie
I got a whole lot to prove”– J. Cole
In typical fashion, the “ATM” rapper leaves room for interpretation in regards to what or who he’s referring to. Is he proving to himself that he hasn’t lost it despite not as involved with music anymore? Or could he be relating to the game as he shows he can deliver another successful project before possibly retiring?
Whatever it is, it’s got him back rapping with a chip on his shoulder again. The two singles are signature Cole at its finest. Both tracks are both heavy and satisfying enough to sit on until The Fall Off officially releases.