“I haven’t done one of these in so f*cking long,” J. Cole says at the beginning of his recently released LA Leakers freestyle. You might not know it, as he displays an athletic flow to take on multiple generations of classic hip-hop beats. The freestyle begins with Cole spitting a sinewy verse over Souls Of Mischief’s Golden Era staple “93 Til Infinity” before DJs Justin Credible and Sour Milk switch the beat, pushing Cole to keep going over Mike Jones’s 2005 hit “Still Tippin.” He serves up a double-time flow that Twista would certainly approve of, with breath control that would bring a smile to Black Thought’s face.
Cole spoke on his improvement process in his documentary Applying Pressure: The Off-Season, as well as in his recent cover story for Slam magazine, comparing it to training for a basketball season — something he’d know plenty about, as he was apparently offered a training camp tryout by the Detroit Pistons and recently signed a multi-game contract for the new created Basketball Africa League’s Rwanda team. All this is in preparation to release his new album The Off-Season, the long-awaited follow-up to his 2018 album KOD, which releases on Friday, May 14.
Watch J. Cole’s LA Leakers freestyle above.