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But in an era where hashtag rap reigns supreme, Cole’s success isn’t just a testament to his grind. For the self-proclaimed 2Pac aficionado, lodging his debut at the top of the charts – and wildly exceeding sales projections – was more a victory for rappers with something to say. With his second official mixtape, The Warm Up, and last year’s Friday Night Lights, Cole proved to be a double threat: not only was he capable of mining experiences from his personal life and dissecting them in rhyme, but he set them to self-helmed, soul-infused production. Cole considers the LP’s success not just a triumph for himself, but for the culture – and its future.

“I feel like because this album wins, then hip-hop and the future win. And all these other artists who are coming out now and are actually talking about real things and got musical substance will win, too,” says Cole. He raps from the perspective of both a man and woman arguing over an abortion on album standout “Lost Ones,” one of his realest – and most heralded – moments on wax to date. “Nobody knew that that type of music could be…

Written by One

December 12, 2011 at 2:06 PM

Posted in Music

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