Please Don’t Compare Drake and J. Cole. by @MichelleHux

I don’t know what it is about music but instead of downloading new music and deciding for ourselves if we like it or not, we feel the need to have a reference point. A friend of mine said that they might download B.o.B’s mixtape because he sounds like Andre 3000. In that case I guess the comparison worked to B.o.B.’s advantage but why was that necessary? Comparisons are nothing new. Lil Kim was known as the female Biggie. More recently Nicki Minaj has been called the female Lil Wayne. Comparisons are natural. But those two people I mentioned were directly related. Biggie cosigned Kim, Wayne cosigned Nicki. The comparisons were bound to come.


Then you have people like Drake and J. Cole. I suppose I understand the comparison. They both seemingly came out of nowhere but in reality people who say things like “they came out of nowhere” just weren’t paying attention. Drake had mixtapes. J. Cole had mixtapes. They worked hard to get where they are so the “came out of nowhere” comments are kind of offensive to their work ethic. But as I was saying, they’re both new and both received huge cosigns. Drake receiving the Lil Wayne/Young Money cosign and J. Cole receiving the Jay-Z/Roc Nation cosign.

…and that’s pretty much where the similarities end. They have hugely different flows and incomparable subject matter. It’s not even about who is better (although I do have a preference). It’s about who you’re in the mood for. As evidenced by his success, Drake clearly is easily marketable. J. Cole has yet to achieve the same level of success that Drake has but I don’t doubt that he will.

If anybody were to be compared to Drake, it should be Big Sean. I’m sure others have drawn this comparison but Drake has a very Big Sean-ish flow. I’m not saying he stole it. I’m just sayin.
J. Cole – “Lights Please”

Drake – “Say What’s Real”

Peep the comments on the video. I’m sure there will be Drake/J. Cole comparisons. The point is, when J. Cole does blow up, remember Uristocrat put you on. Make sure you’re following @MichelleHux on Twitter.

Do you think the J. Cole/Drake comparisons are valid? Who do you prefer?

  1. Did we really just write an entire essay on two rappers who have the exact same unoriginal cadence and self-centered content?

    Yes man, both of these guys sound pretty much alike….it doesn't take an analyst to hear that. Drake? Definitely the more digestible of the two. J. Cole…well, at least he's dope enough to do a track with Mos Def & J. Elec. But who cares…that's never going to be marketed anyway. I really wouldn't be surprised to learn that J.Cole writes for Drake.

    Honestly compared to past rappers, both of these guys are way more hype than anything.
    They don't have interesting voices at ALL…. and the content is straight boring – Who's next?

    1. Wtf are you listening too?? With all the double entendre's and metaphor's Cole uses you think he writes for Drake? GTFOH and stop comparing sh-t to the past. The 90's was dope but it's over. You sound like an old man.

      1. Calm down. Are these people paying you? My opinion is mine. Double entendres? haha. Not that deep.

        The 90s was dope but it's over? Seriously, a big reason why hip-hop is so wack and easily expendable right now is because people like you think that one thing HAS to be over for another to become popular. It all exists together, it's all ONE culture. Understand THAT before you point out to me some clever use of "double entendre's".

  2. Let me start by saying I hate Drake and only really liked two of his songs. I saw J. Cole perform and he is definitely better than Drake. This was a good article till the last paragraph..u really want to compare drake to big sean. I saw Big sean perform too. In my opinion HES better than Drake too.
    You can probably tell i’m a little biased.
    Out of J Cole, Drake, and Big Sean I think J Cole is the next big thing.

    1. I think it's odd that even with Kanye's cosign Big Sean hasn't done much yet. I too saw him live and think he has great potential to make it.

  3. Big Sean is boring to me. Despite Drake's current redundancy, the guy knows how to craft a song and I'm still looking forward to Thank Me Later. I like J. Cole too and I'm glad to see a Carolinian on the map. B.o.B is nice but the Andre 3K comparison is completely unfounded. I like BoB but his album couldn't touch Andre's worst verse. It all comes down to what you like.

    Sidenote: I've noticed a Drake backlash as of late, and I'd be willing to put a Burger King coupon on the table to say that people still like him. They're just upset that he's no longer under the radar. That's how music fans are. They want the music for themselves and as soon as other people are all up on it, they hate it.

    There's room for everyone in the rap landscape though. We need that diversity to suit people's tastes. i.e. I think Yelawolf is marinated garbage pail water but people dig him. Same goes for Nicki Minaj. No amount of Exorcist-esque voice changes and schizo facial expressions will distract me from what I think of her music.

  4. big sean and drake of the same flow? what… smh false… def prefer j cole for the humble, everyday subject matter… drake was more relevant in the early heartbreak days.. all this "Money to blow" bullsh-t is just that…

  5. The content is straight boring? You're wildin right now. Check out J. Cole "Lost Ones" or any other song on his mixtape then come back.

    1. Okay. Listened. Beat is lame. I've heard way sicker rappers flip content about that subject. But I understand you would think that's dope if you'd never heard something like that before.

  6. I agree with the comparisons being dumb, it makes it hard for new rappers coming out. But my opinion on the matter is Drake is definitely more readily accessible to the mainstream crowd. He took a different direction from So Far Gone and thereafter, kind of leaving some of his day one fans in confusion. I've been a fan of Drake since about 2007 and felt some sort of way by him joing with Lil Wayne, because his subject matter changed completely. His work ethic and talent didn't tho.

    Then you have J.Cole. To me, J.Cole is the true Hip-Hop artist who borders between mainstream and indie. He's at the place where Drake used to be, and judging from his singles and latest releases it seems as if this is where he's going to stay. So in actuality I believe a lot of people prefer J.Cole over Drake simply for the fact that they think he hasn't sold out yet.

    In the end, I will always prefer Drake over J.Cole. Simply because his flow and rhymes are a lot more clever and his singing is dope. It;s not often that you have an actor turned rapper who can also sing and write their own songs. The dude is multi-faceted and a lot more interesting whereas you have J.Cole, the frontrunner for lyricism these days. Not trying to take anything away from J.Cole but he to me he just isn't as interesting and his previous work doesn't affect me the same way Drake's previous work did.

    Bottomline, they're both dope as shit. Not to go against your paragraphs on comparisons but they've been compared to the Jay-Z & Nas of the new batch of MC's in our generation.

    1. I feel you on this. I really hate the Jay-Z/Nas comparison but it is very fitting. Jay-Z is more commercial (not always in a bad way) and Nas is the more indie-type guy. Not as top-ten as Jay but a very deep dude none the less. Jay(Drake) will probably always outsell Nas (J. Cole) unfortunately.

      1. Yeah, pretty much it's all about who you prefer, and when. Cuz honestly if I'm out partying or with a bunch of friends, Drake is ideal. But then again he has chill songs u can chill out too, and with a girl as well. A lot more diverse. But then again, J.Cole's lyrics are a lot more accessible and hungry, you can feel the determination you know. So sometimes J.Cole is ideal. It's all about preferance to me.

      2. "more indie type guy"??? where are you getting this from right now??

        Before any of these people had a careers Nas dropped Illmatic in 1994. Nas is and has always been a MAJOR label artist who had a record that was regarded to as one of the most influential of all time. What's independent about that? Nas has never been independent.

        Let's run down a list of who Nas has worked with:

        Lauryn Hill
        Dr. Dre
        Diddy
        DJ Premier
        Timbaland
        Kanye
        Hype Williams (million dollar music video director)
        the list goes on…and it's heavy.

        Don't let someone's content fool you into thinking you understand their place in the industry. Indie never.

        1. Indie doesn't mean literally independent artist on a independent label. It refers to a style. smh.

          1. Yeah, go tell a rapper they have an independent rap style and see how far you get in conversation before they laugh at you and walk away.

            I'm just saying, if you want to keep writing on a hip-hop journalism level, you need to deepen your understanding of the culture & industry full circle.

  7. Comparisons make life easier. It makes people feel safe because we're afraid of something truly original, so we look to things or people that are familar and the comparisons are born. I'm a fan of both of these kids, just grinding and trying to make it. I can dig that, though I too have a preference not based on any comparison though 🙂

    1. @uristocrat @MichelleHux I believe its a comparison on who’s the better rapper. Not flow or related co-signs

  8. I agree. The B.o.B./Andre 3 Stacks comparison is ridiculous. Besides a first listen similarity in southern accent, they can't be compared.

    1. Not really ridiculous. 2 rappers from the same area are bound to have some similarities in sound. Especially considering that Dre is a decade deeper in the game than dude , you probably can't deny that B.O.B. looks up to him in some respect regarding sound.

  9. Meaning its a new era not that the one thing has to be over for something else to come popular. you're practically saying these new kids are wack because you're comparing them to rappers from the past you thought were good. That's like saying Kobe's or LeBron are wack because haven't accomplished what Jordan or Magic have

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