Why Africa Loves J. Cole


Today, I chose a topic about someone I admire a great deal, and I contemplated changing the title to ‘Why I love J. Cole’ to keep it from spiraling down to plain fawning over the man, but I’ve put my faith in my strength, so please, level with me as I endeavor to not generalize reasons why Africa loves J. Cole

My first sighting of J.Cole was on BET one regular ass day, they introduced his breakout single ‘Who Dat’ and I remember watching it and saying ‘who’s this guy trying to be like Joe Cole’ [ex Chelsea FC player], and thinking what I’d said was funny and then immediately wandering off to some completely unrelated activity. After hearing my mates in school talk about him, I downloaded a few songs on my Nokia XpressMusic and the love story has continued since. His lyrics gave me some of the most solid advice I needed to get through some of the darkest periods of my life. They felt like they came from a place so genuine, from a person who’s had these experiences and was narrating the things he’d learned, it was almost like gaining wisdom from a sage.

I used it as feel-good music for when I was going through hard times/harsh realities [which is almost all times in Africa]. At the time, it was less conventional to listen to rap which wasn’t gangster rap, and the thing is, not everyone that loves rap is or wants to be a gangster. This realization helped give us a fresh understanding of the dynamism of African-American narrative in America, and the sound was able to strike that balance of not deviating so far from the deep tenets of rap. Sometimes he has the ability to bring you back down to earth on songs like ‘Love Yourz’ where he implores that you look within to find the things you seek, ‘Crooked Smile‘ is a song about female empowerment which he raps;

‘Love yourself, girl, or nobody will
Oh, you a woman? I don’t know how you deal
With all the pressure to look impressive and go out in heels
I feel for you
Killing yourself to find a man that’ll kill for you’


‘And baby girl you’re a star, don’t let ’em tell you-you’re not’

There are hundreds of reasons to like J. Cole and all of those came to the surface once the news of his coming to Lagos surfaced as well. At first, it sounded too good to be true, and then it was. Castle Lite, a subsidiary of South African Breweries, the company sponsoring the event he’s performing at decided to dangle our hopes and dreams in front of us like a hamster running on a wheel to get to that oh so elusive cheese. I mean, I get that they’re utilizing marketing strategies in order to penetrate this market and launch successfully in the country, so I can understand that, but sell us some damn tickets for crying out loud, the people are literally begging to give Castle Lite their money. Lastly, I hope the organization of the show is great because the polarity of the headliners [J. Cole, Wizkid, Davido] has already sparked some confusion in concert goers as to how the concert organizers will manage to strike a balance in real life, and finesse an unforgettable experience.



UPDATE: It was an unforgettable experience, one that transcended to viral status on the internet, with all the fans rapping J. Cole’s lyrics word for word, the rapper himself was in awe, as was much of the world.


Nasir Ahmed Achile

Philosophy nut. I recommend Albert Camus and Eckhart Tolle to everyone I know.

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