In the past few months we have gotten projects from Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole & Joey Bada$$. Three artists that are known for great lyricism, messages and of course, BARS. I personally am a fan of all three, I love Joey's throwback NY grittiness and willingness to display raw pain on wax. I love Cole's consistency and his thirst to create pure art. And I love Kendrick's charisma and the multiple character changes he has had over the years.
Now... Before I begin to go in on this post. Let me just make some disclaimers because I don't want anybody to get butt hurt. So if you can't take opinions and don't want to participate in a healthy debate. Click out now. From here on in, these are my opinions and mine alone. If you want to chime in, come on down. Everybody is welcome here at The 5th Element.
One more thing. I KNOW that there are many other lyricists out there, young and old. I just wanted to dilute the argument down to three so I can articulate properly. This is not a diss to Black Thought, Murs, Cormega, Logic, Tech N9ne or anybody else you consider on par or better than these three. I chose Joey, Cole & Kendrick because they all have released recent projects and they have all sold major units. Again, think somebody should be in the conversation? You know where to find me.
Okay... With all that hashed out. Lets begin with why I am writing this. I want to make a decision. I believe that Kendrick is King. I call him Kind Kendrick on a regular basis. He's my favourite artist right now and I see him as the LeBron James of Hip-Hop. Like LeBron, he's in the conversation for GOAT status and when all is said and done, I believe they'll both be the GOAT in their respective arenas.
I am confident in that decision and that prediction. But it's the 2nd place I am struggling with. Joey Bada$$ has only come into my radar (which, I admit, is small. I'm getting better I promise) recently, by recently I mean when he dropped "B4DA$$" in 2015. And similar to Joey, I got into J.Cole when "2014 Forest Hills Drive" dropped. If you want to class that as me being "Schleep" then fine, I'll take that, but I'm woke now and that's all that matters.
With the release of "4 Your Eyez Only" and "All-American Bada$$", I had to ask myself "Do I like Joey more than J.Cole?". I'll be honest. The only thing of Cole's I have had the urge to listen to more than once is "The Warm Up". Maybe throw in "Friday Night Lights" for good measure. Joey on the other hand. I personally think that Joey's studio albums have been way better than Cole's. But if you want to say that Cole has better mixtapes, I wouldn't be mad with that statement.
But I have to say right now. "1999" is the best project out of both discographies. That I will defend hard on.
Now I asked this question on my Facebook, seeking opinions from others. and I got a few good responses.
Thanks to David Morrow, Chrysta Monique, Es Baraheni, Martin Askem and Albert Cano for putting some words towards this.
I worded it as if Joey is "closing the gap" on Cole and I still stand by that. Cole has been known for a while and Joey is just coming into his prime. (if he isn't in it already!) Remember Joey is only 22! I'm 20! MADNESS!
There are many criterion for this. Like all Hip-Hop arguments, it's all about preference and I think since I decided to talk about this weeks after the release of "All-American Bada$$" and the fact that "4 Your Eyez Only" didn't hit me that good, I guess I subconsciously think that Joey has passed Cole in my mind.
But honestly. I just really like this conversation. These three artists are keeping what I think "True Hip-Hop" is, alive and however you rank them, you must respect them and hail them as the realest in the game that are teaching the mainstream what it is.