2x12" R&B / Hip Hop / Rap Mix Tape from 2010 - First Time On Vinyl - Friday Night Lights is almost entirely a self-produced affair, and it's to Cole's credit that he knows what makes him sound good, even if he does lean too hard on the tinkly piano sound he loves. On the great summer single "Who Dat", Cole came off tense and purposeful, as if he were trying to elbow his way onto radio playlists through sheer force of will. Friday Night Lights finds him in a more expansive mode, getting into the minutiae of his own personal story over exclusively midtempo beats. At its best, the tape has an organic warmth that lends it an immediate approachability. At its worst-- the inevitable dragging moments that come with any hour-plus mix focusing mostly on one voice-- that organic pose fades into an all-surface gleam that doesn't really suit Cole at all. When he raps over the rippling lilt of Erykah Badu's "Didn't Cha Know", it's perfect. When he raps over Missy Elliott and Aaliyah's gorgeously still "Best Friends", it isn't. But Cole is, in the grand scheme, new to this, and there's a good chance he'll figure this stuff out.
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