I remember the day Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp a Butterfly” dropped. Actually, I remember exactly where I was — even what I was doing. I was tucked in one of Warren dining hall’s many dusty corners, picking at a dry piece of chicken. That album became my anthem for the remaining few months of the semester. I fondly recall (now that it’s over) furiously scribbling annual percentage rate calculations and valuing cash flows at different points in time to the various ups and downs of the beats.
J. Cole’s third studio album, “2014 Forest Hills Drive” was released Dec. 9, 2014. But I was only introduced to this album many months later, in the summer. This was the album that put J. Cole on my radar and, more importantly, made me realize that I had been missing out.
Where do these artist come together? Black Friday. I get the feeling that people don’t actually like this “holiday.” They’re faking it. They have to be. I mean, waking up at the crack of dawn to fight with feisty middle-aged women for the closest parking spot to spend money on cheap cashmere isn’t worth the effort. This Black Friday, and the previous Black Fridays for that matter, I did not partake in the truly American holiday. Instead, I spent the day in the city with my mom, casually strolling around and people-watching through the windows our favorite café. It was a pretty low-key day, I would say. While my mother and I were taking selfies and millions of others were hitting up Best Buy and the Gap, however, the world was blessed with the greatest Black Friday gift ever.
Cole and Kendrick Lamar dropped two songs onto their respective SoundCloud accounts Nov. 27, otherwise known as Black Friday. The rappers traded tracks off of their latest albums to create their own songs, both aptly titled as “Black Friday.” J. Cole added his verses to Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright” off of Lamar’s latest album “To Pimp a Butterfly.” The R&B yet jazzy vibe of the track fit surprisingly well with J. Cole’s fusion-vibe music.
Kendrick Lamar used “2014 Forest Hills Drive’s” “A Tale of 2 Citiez” to fire shots at the music industry (“The whole industry been in shambles / Everybody fugazi, I’m just changing the channel”) and drawing references from everything from Adele (“I’m rollin’ deep in that paper like two Adeles”) to Shakespeare (“And the dead coward dying a thousand deaths, entire lion / Surround itself with bears”). It seems that even Kanye’s VMA speech inspired Kendrick — he threw out references to Kanye West’s debut album “The College Dropout” (“I’m yelling Mr. Kanye West for president…Bumping College Dropout, God bless Americans”).
This little drop has sparked hope among fans of the two artists that there will be a more substantial collaboration with one another in the future. And it seems that the speculation is not for uncalled for. At the end of J. Cole’s remix, he acknowledges the question of, “When you and K. Dot dropping shit?” The very last line of the song is, “But this February, bet sh– get scary when I f— around and drop…” before a censor tone ends the song.
This Black Friday, it seems as though we were able to score the best deal of all — buy nothing, get two free songs of charge. Is J. Cole’s little hint really substantial? No one knows. We can only listen to the two “Black Friday” tracks and hope they will come through with another collaboration in the coming months. A new waiting game has begun.