J. Cole and Dreamville Records - Revenge of the Dreamers (Mixtape)

What a few days Cole has had. His Dreamville imprint (featuring Bas and Omen, both OTU alumni) has been picked up by Interscope, an announcement made on his 29th birthday. With a relatively solid track record with rapper’s imprint labels, it’s a great home for him to develop the brand, and to cap it all off, Jay-Z was kind enough to gift young Cole with an original Rocafella chain at a recent NYC show.

And amidst it all, this new mixtape was released to celebrate the Dreamville signing. It’s a mixture of tracks from Cole and the two aforementioned signees, with previously-unheard music from Cole including an alternate version of Born Sinner single Crooked Smile. It’ll be interesting to hear Bas and Omen hold up their end of the deal here – whilst they’ve proven their talents on occassion in the past, this is about as lofty a pedestal as they’ve been put on thus far, and to avoid wilting under Cole’s shadow, you’d hope the material they’ve selected is amongst the best they’ve offered to date. Nonetheless, I’d expect to see plenty of development from both in their new partnership, and keep your eyes peeled for any more additions to the roster – not to do anyone’s job for them, but someone like ANTHM has always seemed a great fit for a team such as Dreamville, and it’ll be interesting to see if they pick up anyone of his ilk. For now, grab the 3-man, 11-track tape below.

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Omen-Afraid of Heights Mixtape

J. Cole’s running mate drops off a mixtape that’s been garnering plenty of critical acclaim since its release earlier this week, certainly no mean feat given the glut of mixtape releases this week.

He’s been found on OTU multiple times as a featured performer, but surprisingly this is the first material of his own that we’ve managed to post. Some of his material is indeed enjoyable, and there are a few features on here that indicate his peers may feel the same way, with Kendrick Lamar, Eric Roberson and of course J. Cole making appearances on the 17-track effort. Plenty of tracks, and I’m sure a few gems will emerge from the pack: be sure to click below and grab the tape for free over at Omen’s place.

Omen-Afraid of Heights

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J. Cole-Any Given Sunday #1 (Free EP)

With his debut album Cole World: The Sideline Story set for release on 27th September, Cole kicks off the hype wagon with this 5-track pack. He recently announced his intention to follow the G.O.O.D. Fridays/Hip-Hop Weekly blueprint by releasing tracks weekly in the build up to the aforementioned album, and he’s kicked off here with a nice blend of old and new music to satisfy his growing fanbase.

How High, Unabomber (one of my favourites J. Cole tracks) and Knock on Wood will be familiar to longtime fans, and will undoubtedly make for good listening to those a little newer to the party. The two newer tracks are also very enjoyable; Like A Star has a buttery, retro vibe and a little more positivity from Cole that makes for refreshing summer listening, whilst Pity boasts a great soul-sampling production and a more introspective quality, alongside solid features from Voli and Cole’s running mate Omen. Click here to read his brief thoughts on each track and click below for the EP.

J. Cole-Any Given Sunday #1

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Fashawn-Higher Learning 2 [Mixtape]

Here’s the new mixtape by Fashawn, as promised yesterday. Given the strength of yesterday’s track that I posted and the stuff I’ve heard Fashawn come out with in recent times, I fully expect this mixtape to be incredibly good.

Definitely one of the best from the underground hip hop circuit about and with the likes of J. Cole, Common, John Legend, GLC and Gilbere Forte all on the list of features on this mixtape, it shouldn’t disappoint.

Click here to grab it and click below to see the tracklist.

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J. Cole, Fashawn and Omen-Relaxation

J. Cole is an interesting artist. Obviously we’re huge fans here at OTU, but I’ve never quite figured out why I find myself playing his music more than artists I’d call my ‘favourites’. He’s a good rapper, but not yet the finished article, and has very good beat selection, but not perfect. Both completely understandable for any artist, let alone a relatively new one. So what is it?

The replayability factor. He has it absolutely nailed down. You’ll rarely listen to a Cole track just once, and this is another example of that. Something about his connection with a production is very unique, and will be crucial to his success.

Anyway, Relaxation has a chilled, sombre production providing the backdrop for typically passionate rhymes from Cole, whilst the features are both very good too. I’ve played it 5 times already. Re-goddamn-playable.

J.Cole-Relaxation ft. Fashawn and Omen

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