How J. Cole Made Up for Drake's 'For All the Dogs' No-Show
Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

How J. Cole Made Up for Drake's 'For All the Dogs' No-Show

And why Cole's run of feature appearances just might define his legacy

If you’re reading this, you probably already know Drake did not let the dogs out last night.

Last month, during a New York City stop for his It’s All A Blur tour with 21 Savage, the Toronto rapper declared his anticipated new album, For All the Dogs, would drop in “like two weeks.” Drizzy’s math ain’t mathin’, though—we’ve seen five Fridays since that teaser announcement, and we’re still without a new project from Aubrey. (Although we did get fresh cover art earlier this week, drawn by his son Adonis.)

Still, it’s all good, dog, because another member of hip-hop’s Big Three stepped up to the plate in Drake’s absence. Yes, Jermaine Cole messed around and dropped a feature in alignment with Gucci Mane and Burna Boy, respectively. The Friday double-up adds new flavors to an already epic string of guest appearances that might just define J. Cole's legacy. At this point, dude's features are as anticipated as some artist's albums.

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On Gucci’s “There I Go,” the duo provides the fire-and-ice combo you didn't know you needed. Mike WiLL Made-It provides bouncy production upon which Cole flexes his elastic flows and blue-ribbon wordplay about recreational drugs and BBLs and mowing his lawn while wearing couture. Perhaps it's a different take on a Guwop record, but as always, it works. At this point, it’d be foolish to think J. Cole would sound out of place on anyone’s record—he only makes his versatility pronounced on this one.

The same could be said for “Thanks,” a cut from Burna Boy’s new album, I Told Them… The African Giant’s breezy, Afro-fusion record is seldom-explored texture for Dreamville’s head honcho, but he makes the music his own, slithering through his verse with ease.

These days, it’s clear that Cole is finding musical inspiration by diversifying his palette—he’s said as much in his 2021 mini documentary, Applying Pressure—and this year’s feature verses have proven as much. He’s already dropped records with Lil Durk (“All My Life”), Summer Walker (“To Summer, From Cole (Audio Hug)"), Bas (“Passport Bros”), and K-pop sensation J-Hope (“On the Street”). While The Fall-Off remains one of the more anticipated works of his career, in the meantime, we can enjoy these guest features like a compilation album of its own, offered up piecemeal.

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So, yes, Drake is still on the clock. Yes, we're still checking for For All the Dogs—whenever the 6ix God decides to let it loose. But in the meantime, be sure to savor a rare double drop from J. Cole. What a time to be alive.