J. Cole performs onstage during the 2023 iHeartRadio Music Festival
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Is J. Cole the Most Lyrical Rapper in the Game? Here's a Breakdown of His Best Verses

J. Cole has been known to drop lyrics that are lyrically superior to some of his counterparts. Here are some of the rapper's best verses of all time.


Jun. 20 2024, Published 8:58 p.m. ET

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Few rappers have garnered as much respect for their lyrical abilities as J. Cole. The North Carolina MC has consistently delivered verses that resonate deeply with hip-hop heads.

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Cole’s storytelling ability and intricate wordplay have solidified his place as one of the greats of modern rap. From “Power Trip” to “Love Yourz,” these are the best Cole lyrics from his discography.

"Lost Ones" (2011)

j cole performs onstage during lil baby friends birthday celebration
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J. Cole performs onstage during Lil Baby & Friends Birthday Celebration.

"Baby girl, I can't imagine what it's like for you / I got you pregnant, now inside there is a life in you," – J. Cole ("Lost Ones")

J. Cole came out swinging with his debut studio album, Cole World: The Sideline Story. In the song "Lost Ones," the rapper delivers one of his most powerful and emotionally charged verses. Cole explores both the male and female perspectives, showcasing his ability to narrate complex situations.

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"Power Trip" (2013)

“Had a thing for ya, even wrote the song 'Dreams' for ya / ‘Cause I had dreams for ya, thoughts of a ring for ya," – J. Cole ("Power Trip")

"Power Trip," featuring Miguel, is one of the most memorable tracks from Cole’s sophomore album, Born Sinner. The song includes themes of love and obsession with a hauntingly smooth beat.

"Power Trip" is a testament to Cole's ability to craft deeply emotional music that hip-hop heads can vibe to.

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"Love Yourz" (2014)

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J. Cole performs during the iHeartRadio Music Festival.

“It's beauty in the struggle, ugliness in the success / Hear my words and listen to my signal of distress," – J. Cole ("Love Yourz")

"Love Yourz" is an anthem of self-acceptance and gratitude. The song encourages listeners to appreciate their own lives rather than coveting others, delivering a powerful message wrapped in soulful production.

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"Fire Squad" (2014)

"While silly n---as argue over who gon' snatch the crown / Look around, my n---a, white people have snatched the sound," – J. Cole ("Fire Squad")

"Fire Squad" is a standout track from Cole’s critically acclaimed album Forest Hills Drive. Cole takes aim at the appropriation of black culture and the lack of recognition for black artists. Cole does not mince words in the track, calling out Eminem, Justin Timberlake, and Elvis Presley.

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"A Tale of 2 Citiez" (2014)

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Rapper J. Cole attends a party at TRUTH nightclub.

“Small town n---a, Hollywood dreams / I know that everything that glitters ain't gold / I know the s--t ain't always good as it seems,” – J. Cole ("A Tale of 2 Citiez")

Another standout from 2014’s Forest Hills Drive, "A Tale of 2 Citiez," features a verse that details Cole’s upbringing and his rise to fame. The lyrics vividly depict the temptations and struggles he faced both in his hometown of Fayetteville and the music industry.

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J. Cole performs during the 2023 Dreamville Music festival.

“To the OGs, I'm thankin' you now / Was watchin' you when you was pavin' the ground.” – J. Cole ("MIDDLE CHILD")

In "MIDDLE CHILD," J. Cole delivers a masterful verse that proves his ability to stand among the most lyrically talented rappers of all time.

The song serves as a bridge, with Cole paying homage to legends while asserting his own influence on the new wave of artists. The track was released as the lead single from Dreamville Records’ Revenge of the Dreamers III.

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"4 Your Eyez Only" (2016)

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Source: Dreamville Records

‘4 Your Eyez Only’ album cover.

“Maybe you hate me, maybe you miss me, maybe you spite me / Life goes in cycles, maybe you'll date a n---a just like me.” – J. Cole ("4 Your Eyez Only")

The title track of Cole’s fourth studio album includes narrative-driven verses that theories suggest were addressed to a friend in prison. The verse speaks directly to the friend’s daughter, offering wisdom and reflections on life, legacy, and fatherhood.

The author’s content and opinions have not been pre-reviewed, approved or endorsed by Discover.

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