Confirmed rap friends Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole have been threatening to release a project together for some time now, but as each enters his own colossal gravity in the hip-hop mainstream, the prospect seems less and less likely. Still, the duo sneakily dropped a pair of remixes of one another's songs for Black Friday, with Cole laying down a freestyle over Kendrick's To Pimp a Butterfly centerpiece "Alright" and Kendrick biting a hole out of 2014 Forest Hills Drive's "A Tale of Two Citiez." Because hip-hop is a contact sport, even amongst friends, let's talk about who won.
J. Cole - "Black Friday (Alright Remix)"
Rundown: North Carolina rap phenom J. Cole's forthright, unpolished persona and relatable songwriting transformed him from scrappy Jay Z protege to A-list artist and cultural spokesman in three albums' time, and he gives a spirited performance over Pharrell's busy, jazzy "Alright" production. The beat demands blood, though, and it's already crushed a respectable lyricist or two. Jermaine's attack is melodic and boisterous, haughty and earnest at the same time. But as per usual, turn fire Cole up long enough and he drops a silly line or two, and you're not allowed to trip up over "Alright." Good effort nevertheless.
Best lines: "The flow sick as shit, catch ebola if you bit this shit," "No promethazine, I'm a king, no leaning / I got a better way to fight these demons"
Worst lines: "Do a nigga dirty like some clothes, my nigga / Get you cleaned up, then I fold you, nigga," "A nigga getting cream like a old ass Laker," "Got suicidal doors, I just slit my wrist"
Score: 4 Wet Dreamz out of 5
Kendrick Lamar - "Black Friday (A Tale of Two Citiez Remix)"
Rundown: Confirmed Noisey Artist of the Year Kendrick Lamar is practically God's gift to the game. Listening to him rhyme is like watching Luke Skywalker whip around the Death Star in an X-Wing, death defying turns leading to breathtaking victory. His assault on the dizzying network of interlocking rhythms provided by New York producer Vinylz for Cole's 2014 Forest Hills Drive cut "A Tale of Two Citiez" is no different. He cycles through no less than five flows throughout, and you just have to hang back slackjawed and astounded at the technical ecstasy of a master at work.
Best lines: "I'm rollin deep in that paper like two Adeles," "I'm yelling 'Mr. Kanye West for president!' / He'll probably let me get some head inside the residence."
Worst lines: Ha.
Score: 5 Money Trees out of 5
Craig is mildly curious about this February Kendrick and Cole collab rumor percolating on the interwebs today. Follow him on Twitter.