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‘Might Delete Later’ Review: J.Cole Takes Aim At Kendrick Lamar and GOAT Status

Veteran rappers experiencing career resurgences are a rarity, similar to an athlete a la Tom Brady defying Father Time with championship runs in his late 30’s and 40’s. J. Cole (former athlete turned Hip Hop megastar), once an undisputed contender for the rap throne, seemed to be settling into a comfortable place, the critically acclaimed lane reserved for greats but not “GOAT”s.  But then with the energy of grizzled veteran clamoring for another ring came the opening salvo ‘First Person Shooter’ with friend and collaborator (erstwhile GOAT) Drake. It was this moment, where it became apparent that J.Cole was not merely here to be great, but here to be the one of one. The song was followed by Kendrick Lamar’s not-so-subtle diss on Future and Metro Boomin’s record ‘Like That’, which seems, given the response,to have ignited a competitive fire in J. Cole.  Now enter “Might Delete Later,” a project fueled by that relentless pursuit. The result? A strong pre ‘Fall Off’ bag, showcasing both Cole’s lyricism and glimpses of an edge of emcee ready to prove not only to the world but to himself that in 2024, he is pound for pound the best in the world. 

J. Cole surprised fans with the surprise drop of “Might Delete Later,” early Friday morning on the eve of his annual music festival “Dreamville”.  Following 2021’s “The Off-Season,” “Might Delete Later” brings together an impressive roster of collaborators for an album that could be the defining work of his career.  It features guest appearances from established names like Ari Lennox, Gucci Mane, Young Dro, and Cam’ron, alongside rising stars like Bas, Central Cee, and producers T-Minus, the Alchemist, Ab-Soul, and Mike Will Made-It.

The project finds Jermaine Cole in assassin mode taking aim at one particular subject: Kendrick Lamar. Lamar, considered by Cole on ‘FPS’ to be an honorary member of current day Hip Hop’s ‘Big 3’ along with Drake (a notion that Kendrick scoffs at on ‘Like That’) is the target of bars on nearly all 12 tracks that comprise ‘Might Delete Later’. Veiled (‘Pricey’, ‘Ready ‘24’) or not so veiled (‘Huntin Wabbitz’, ‘Stickz n Stonez’, ‘Crocodile Tearz’) jabs provide J.Cole the lyrical ammunition to wound but perhaps permanently damage Kendrick Lamar’s status as the best rapper post Jay-Z. 

The most lethal rounds are found in the songs ‘Pi’ and ‘7 Minute Drill’ where Cole leaves little doubt that in this game of rap chess, the board is clear and he is attempting to bait his opponent into checkmate. 

“Might Delete Later” serves as the appropriate musical ‘movie trailer’ for the upcoming ‘Fall Off’ which as Cole described is ‘Jay dropping Reasonable Doubt’ last. It’s both a warning shot and coronation, a 40-yard dash at the combine and a marathon. The result is definitively a Victory. 



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