For every rap artist, there's a "mixtape" version that hungrily attacked instrumentals with something to prove. Though it's hard to imagine a time when Dreamville legend J. Cole-- the same man recently declared by Eminem to be one of the greatest of all time-- was turning heads with his formative tapes, there are still some who tout his pre-album material as his most cherished work. For those people, the eleven-year anniversary of The Warm Up, Cole's second mixtape following The Come Up, is an occasion worth celebrating.
While the album is lined with punchline-heavy freestyles and conscious reflections (a pairing that helped cement Cole's versatility), one of the most enduring tracks remains "Lights Please." So much so that Cole himself moved to include it on his major-label debut Cole World: The Sideline Story. The song is peak Cole; a minimalist self-produced instrumental, alive with the spirit of boom-bap hip-hop, serving as the backdrop for his intelligent musings on life, love, relationships, and the complexities of building a family. For those only discovering the lyricist, "Lights Please" went a long way in highlighting his potential -- and look where he's standing now.
Happy anniversary to J. Cole's classic tape, and take a moment to show some love to everything the Dreamville leader has accomplished in his career. Do you have love for The Warm Up?
The more y'all seem to stay the same
Don't even know the rules, but yet y'all tryna play the game
And ain't it shameful how n****s blame hoes for giving birth
To a baby that took two to make?
Coward n****, you a fake
How you gonna look in your son's face and turn your back
Then go start another family? Dawg, what type of shit is that?