Planet Ill Breakdown — 20 October 2010

By shelz.

People expect anyone who writes about music to know every artist that has released a song in the last 50 years.  Note to yall: It’s impossible. However, there are certain artists in your scope of musical practice that you should probably keep up with.  For example if you write about Hip-Hop in 2010, you probably need to know who J. Cole is and well… I don’t.

In my defense I do know “A Star is Born” and “Just Begun,” but he’s buried like 6 verses deep in that Jay Z song. (Is it me or is that song long as hell?)  On Revolutions Per Minute he’s sandwiched between Talib Kweli and Mos Def.  I mean, can’t you understand how he may have slipped through my cracks? (Ewww…no cougar.)

Anyway, after not listening to any of his mixtapes or any other songs he produced that have been hurled in my general i-direction, I decided I would break the habit and listen to one.  Drums please….

“I Want It All” starts with this up and down synth movement, some horns and a little thump. The hook brings some vibrating strings layered on top.  It’s a bit dramatic but not theatrical enough to catch your attention if you weren’t listening to the song on purpose.

J Cole’s performance is fair. He has a decent amount of hubris but it’s tempered with ambition which is always a good thing.  The question though, is all of that vanity deserved?  Not really. The concepts here are pretty simple.  He’s ready to take off into fame’s stratosphere and he’s more than talented enough to do so.  He runs a few tangents about getting into some girls pants and how he doesn’t deal with the haters, but watching him shine is the main point.  Considering how many times he repeats the statement, you had to know.

Anyway, I’ll let you listen and figure out Mr. Cole on your own.  Am I impressed?  Not really, but its only one song.  Maybe I’ll dust off Reflection Eternal.  Even if I don’t feel Cole’s verse, at least I’ll get to listen to some dudes I already know I like.


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