Murder doesn’t (obviously) only affect the victim, it affects the murderer too, in ways that are often profound, devastating and rarely discussed in hip-hop. In fact, other than Ghostface’s post-murder mental breakdown on Walk Around, I’m hard pressed to think of an example – or at least I was until J. Cole’s new release Killers surfaced today. Per usual Cole provides his own production work, stretching a guitar sample into a darkly banging cut that also interweaves Richard Pryor clips. It’s an impressive beat, but nowhere near as impressive as the Roc Nation representative’s narratively deep bars that delve into both the prelude and aftershocks of a murder. Think about it like hip-hop’s answer to Bohemian Rhapsody, only with less opera singing. While I think we would have all been happy if this was off Cole’s eagerly anticipated debut album, Killers is actually part of The Glorification of Gangster, a multimedia project by artist Alex Haldi examining the human fascination with crime that includes both an art installation and a mixtape of the same name. Dope idea, dope music.
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"Grown Simba" (2009)
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