J. Cole, “Problems”

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j. cole

“A million new rappers everyday, why should I check your shit” is the snooty thought circulating my skull as I browse blogs and message boards to stay up on the freshest produce. J. Cole fell under that “suspect he's a Charles Hamilton/Drake” uneasiness that kept me from genuinely checking out his music.

All it takes though, is a beat so catchy and outstanding that I respect your wise ear for bounce to gain my curiosity. J. Cole's “Problems” impressed within seconds by addressing “Mrs. Bill Collector.” Taxes have always been described in masculine terms, assuming that “the man” is bringing us down with rising tariffs. J. Cole is in a different world, in which he feels as though it just takes a well-worded “I'm going through some things” apology to get that tax lady off his back. Mid-verse he comes to his senses, as we all do when hassled by collectors, and blows up with his problems, “I'm broke / please put that in your notes / for the next one that call me up talking that shit.”

Produced by Jim Jonsin, the piano line comes in a little stronger between verses, cutting the tension of J. Cole's words with a lighthearted vibe. It's that same air of catharsis in the music and how J. Cole hums and laughs off his verses that allows him to gracefully pull off the closing bars of his third verse as he raps, “hey your honor, is you kidding / how you sit above me? / are you perfect, motherfucker? / how you finna judge me? / when you home you don't cuss, drink and puff like us? / these cops is bad boys, baby , just like Puff / they hate they jobs and they days / be fucked up like us / at the end of the day, you niggas just like us.”

“Problems” is an unfinished song that was leaked by a blogger with ambition. It would seem that I now have invested interest in following the release of Cole World on Roc Nation.

J. Cole, “Problems”