Originally written Monday, Oct. 4, 2021.
Short & Brief: Wale and J. Cole decided that the fourth quarter was the perfect time to celebrate women’s body positivity by indulging in booty praise, no matter the size.
“Poke it out. I wanna see you play whether your Meg The Stallion or Coi Leray”
– J. Cole “Poke it Out”.
The flirty single is the second single off the D.C. rapper’s forthcoming 7th studio album, Folarin II, a sequel to his 2012 mixtape Folarin.
Now that my brief and sound opinion is out of the way, here’s the REAL SPILL.
Talk about being three days late! Who forgot to mention that Wale and J. Cole dropped? (The fact that Jermaine was on anything and I wasn’t aware for THREE ENTIRE DAYS is absurd enough).
Moment of honesty: I’m more excited about Wale announcing Folarin II than “Poke It Out.” Wale’s an artist that I’ll never turn my back on, and he’s one of the only poets for millennials and Gen Z. As a young aspiring writer, I lived, ate, and slept early Wale throughout my adolescence.
(Besides, “The Breakup Song” is the only rap song I’m 100 percent certain I could save my life by rapping in line from line).
So this announcement has my attention, and I will be tuning in on Oct. 22.
As for the single itself, I could have done without — which is appalling considering I am typically fond of his singles.
“Angles” — released June 2021 — and “On Chill” — released June 2019 — are both rather recent singles that better suited my style.
According to Genius, the tracklist includes “Angles” — as I’m sure you could expect — and “Gemini (2 sides)” a loosey, Wale released in 2019. I loved “Gemini” when it came out (for several reasons. The first being I’m a PROUD June Gemini through and through. Secondly, Wale analyzed the heck out of a Gemini-woman and provided his synopsis with a neatly tied bow.
As an artist, his supreme power is his ability to analyze the human experience concerning our connectivity. He delivers the ebbs and flows of relationships — particularly ones of romance — with deep passion. As a consumer, it feels intuitive. Almost as if it’s in his innate nature to chronicle the meanders of love and life itself.
With that said, my expectation for Wale sometimes feels unfair. I can’t stomach ‘subpar’ tracks from him. You see, I, unfortunately, am the fan that wants to feel convicted and intrigued with every bar.
This song left my spine intact when I expected at least a single chill on the first few listens.
Now that I’ve uttered my grievances, how about a bit of love. The record isn’t horrendous! It’s simply not my steez!
In its bare form, the song is a fitting ‘fun record.’ I mean, it’s a Cool & Dre beat that samples the iconic bass line of Q-Tip’s Vivrant Thing. Of course, we’ve been hearing this bass line for decades — literally, the song was released in 1999. The sample is certified at this point, and there’s no way around this acknowledgment.
I’ve seen some critiques that aren’t a fan of Mr. Folarin’s use of the sample. However, I think it could ring off at the day parties as the Dj fades from Q-Tip and b-lines straight to Wale.
This song is undoubtedly ready to dominate Tik Tok sounds and Instagram reels from the bass sample alone, which I’m not mad about. As an established artist whose deep cuts are goated, some less riveting lyrics now and then aren’t exactly the end of the world.
*Cue the heavy sighs* It looks like I have another bone to pick with this song as it falls short of my reigning expectation for a Wale and Cole track.
As a collaborative duo, I’m deeply disappointed. Whenever I see the names Wale and J. Cole side by side on a track, I’m expecting elitism.
I was expecting more punches, more ego, more — just more. I felt somewhat bamboozled.
I mean, for goodness sake, the two gave us “My Boy” off Wale’s Free Lunch — released in 2018.
And please, do not make me pull Cole’s “You Got It” out of my pocket. Or Wale’s “Rather Be With You”? Both songs are mixtape classics dating back 10 plus years.
[“You Got It” is a gem from Cole’s Friday Night Lights released in 2010. “Rather Be With You” featuring both Cole and Curren$y hails from Wale’s and 9th Wonder’s Back to the Future, released in 2009. I’m convinced that this mixtape era will be my lifetime’s golden years of rap. Just recounting my experiences with these tapes leaves me with chills.]
“Rather Be With You” alone colored the bedroom walls of my adolescence with the gray matter of my brain. My cerebral cortex surged with wonder.
I had no business listening to this song at 13. Yet, I discovered it, and like Eve in the Garden of Eden, the lyrical embodiment of good and evil left me in a severe chokehold.
This is my expecation when these lyricist intersect.
After reviewing “Poke It Out,” I find myself in another chokehold, this time for different reasons.
It could be unfair to hold this song hostage to the duo’s history because their likeness is slim outside of J. Cole as a feature.
Yet, as an invested fan of both rappers, I literally can’t escape it.
Wale fans (and especially my fellow ladies), I’m dying to hear your thoughts? Did our beloved rapper, who so ever eloquently knows how to address us lyrically with so much grace, let us down?
Flop or nah? Let me know in the comments below.