Nearly two months before his sophomore album Born Sinner drops, J.Cole decided to bless us with another free soulful six-track gem of an EP Truly Yours 2; the sequel to Truly Yours that he released in February. With big name features such as 2 Chainz and Young Jeezy, Truly Yours 2 has a more diverse and polished sound compared to the unmastered rough-cut of its predecessor.
Truly Yours 2 is an almost entirely self-produced affair characteristic of J.Cole. When assisted by Canei Finch and Jake One their sounds merge into his making cohesive beats that emphasise instead of outshine his introspective rhymes. The EP is mostly made up of a midtempo bluesy sampled sound that is both warm and haunting, typical of his earlier mixtapes. Like in the first Truly Yours, J.Cole opens up with a Lauryn Hill sampled track titled “Cole Summer” dropping reflective and compelling thoughts about his fear of his sophomore album Born Sinner flopping. Its consequences with lines like “confessions of a cheap ass n*gga/but I finally put my mom in that E-class n*gga/and I told her quit her job/but hold your horses/if my next album flop, its back to the post office/both of us” as he shed light on his issues with his label and his conflict of having to make commercial rap just so he can sell as well as his distaste of rappers who front and the fakeness of the rap game in general.
“Kenny Lofton” a track named after successful baseball player; a title not unusual for J.Cole who takes sports metaphors to another level, talks about how black men are only celebrated when they’re good at something whether its sports, entertainment or politics. The track features Young Jeezy who drops a surprisingly profound and thoughtful verse about how even though the drug game is seen as cool and revered its not the best life to live; a testament to J.Cole’s ability to pull what he wants from the artists he features. “Chris Tucker” lightens up the EP preventing it from being the ‘boring’ offering critics of J.Cole tend to say his music is. A fun party track featuring 2 Chainz, its sole purpose really is to show that J.Cole can diversify his raps and get as ratchet as the artist he’s featuring when he wants to. “Head Bussa” has classic J.Cole subject matter laid over one of the best beats J.Cole has ever produced. Sampling Trey Songz “Me 4 U Infedelity 2” it’s catchy and beautiful at the same time. “Cousins” features Bas, Cole’s first signee to his very own label Dreamville Records and tells the tale of his broken relationship with a criminal for a cousin he was once close to who is stuck at the bottom and only wants Cole’s help now that he’s successful even though he wasn’t there for him when he was coming up. “3 Wishes” ends the EP off on a reflective narrative with J.Cole wishing for three things: that his friend’s mom could be freed from struggle, that he’d saved his own mom from domestic violence and that the same friend could be freed from a ten-year jail term that he’s serving.
Weighty and deep, the EP has the potential to bore a listener who isn’t in the mood to listen to the stories it tells, however in terms of J.Cole’s form it is reminiscent of the hungry rapper heard on The Warm Up and Friday Night Lights. This EP will wet the musical appetite for Born Sinner and if the album doesn’t satisfy – at least listeners will have the Truly Yours series for consolation.
Written By: Nomusa Mthethwa (@NomusaMT)