NOTE: I DID NOT WRITE THIS
. This is taken strictly from this thread I saw on Kanyetothe.com. I'm just copying and pastin it just to see what the Reason's opinion of this is. It was blowin up on other forums so I just decided to post it here to see what ya think of this. Here's the link to the original thread right here:
In the mid 2000s, the internet rap community was largely unsatisfied with hip hop as a genre. This was the time when Soulja Boi and D4L were the bane of "real hip hop" fans' existence. This was the time when Nas felt like saying "hip hop is dead".
J Cole set himself up to be the answer to this dissatisfaction. I mean, dude came up on a Canibus forum under the name Therapist. J Cole seems like the epitome of what people were asking for in a great rapper. He came from a single-mom, poor background. He was a star basketball player who actually went to college. He's hood enough to be real, yet not ignorant. He raps about "real issues" like abortion and self image and not just money and hoes. He rhymes over soul beats. He can flow.
But here's the thing: Cole seems like a character a bunch of 50 year old white movie executives would invent to make a movie about (read in a movie-narrator voice)"the underdog rapper who's 'sideline story' took him to stardom, all while keeping it real, being a good example to the kids, and learning a bit about himself along the way".
The shit is so cliche and expected. His verses are very literal, sort of like Hopsin, and seem like something you'd find on the text rap section of a "real hiphop" forum. His beats are consistently good, expected, and never surprise. His subject matter begs for middle aged suburban dads to say "you know what Billy, maybe I was wrong about this here hippity hop stuff." He raps like he wants nothing more than to be mentioned in the "You say Lil Gayne, I say Eminem" YouTube comments. He strives to fit into the narrative of "great hip hop", leading to the production of the unlistenable "Let Nas Down" dick riding.
I think a good analogy is photorealism in art. Essentially, photorealism is a drawing/painting that looks almost indistinguishable from a photograph. Many novice art students find photorealism to be the best type of art. "Of course it's amazing to be able to use a pencil to make a real-looking picture!" But nah. It's boring and expected. It's 100% technical skill, 0% innovation. Even when it looks amazing, it's completely expected. That's why the art world largely doesn't care about it. An abstract Van Gogh, or the schizophrenic doodlings of Basquiat are FARRRRRR more exciting and thought provoking than a really super realistic drawing of some portrait. No photorealist picture is exciting or new or special, no matter how much talent it took. And that is Cole: Huge amounts of talent, but the finished product is unsurprising and mundane. Do we know that he's going to rap about an abortion or how his crooked teeth don't bother him anymore? No, but we knew something like that was coming.
Great artists are artists that would not be the typical response when asking fans to describe create an ideal artist. We never asked for an egotistical rapper with a passion for high fashion, art, religious imagery, and gender-bending production, Kanye invented that. We never asked for a racoon-faced rapper with a weird nasally voice who pronounces dick as "dih" and writes strange, synthy choruses, but we got Kendrick. We never asked for a vulgar white psychopath who raps about raping his mom and mocks celebs over funky circus-inspired Dre beats, but we got Eminem.
We DID ask for a J Cole, we got him, and it's just as underwhelming as we should have expected.