Best freestyle rapper: Kendrick, J. Cole or Zombie Juice

I want to pose this question to any rap/hip-hip aficionados here at the Dope. This is a side by side comparison of Kendrick freestyling and J Cole freestyling. I know Kendrick basically gets all the hype but J Cole is on another fucking level. IMO, he makes Kendrick look like an amateur. Each artist gets 3 “rounds” to show their freestyle bona fides. Kendrick actually corralled himself in the 2nd round and was fairly impressive but he just fell apart in the final round.

J Cole gave me goosebumps. Especially his freestyle in the 2nd round. It was truly art. The combination of lyrics, delivery, rhythm and emotion was really amazing. He sounds like a rhythmic philosopher. IMNSHO, J Cole is the much better of the two with freestyling.
Now I have a wildcard that i have to include here to ponder as to who the better freestyler is: Zombie Juice is one of the trio that makes up the rap group Flatbush Zombies. Now, you have to sit thru the first two members before you get to Juice but it is worth it. He’s the little guy with the lion’s mane hair. I was caught off guard by his flow. Damn. Just out cold. He not only had the best lyrics of the group by a mile but like J Cole (and unlike Kendrick) his flow was in perfect rhythm with the music. Honestly, for me it’s a tough choice between J Cole and Zombie Juice but if im forced to pick one I’m going to have to go with J Cole. He has depth that Juice can’t match. I’ve said it before but J Cole is the most underrated and underappreciated rapper out there. I hope he stays that way too.

Lets throw in a few old school rappers: Rev Run, Slick Rick, Tupac and Eminem.

J Cole is not under rated. Maybe under appreciated? But absolutely correctly rated.

Anyway, my thoughts on round 1 (I may come back and do other rounds but it’s getting late and I have Dr. Who to watch… Like a real head.)

Kendrick, never rhymes the same word with the same word. Cole does at least 4 times by my count.

Cole only rhymes the end of his bars
Kendrick has half a dozen internals

Cole loses the beat twice and over stuffs the beat once
Kendrick hits the beat dead on.

Neither cross the bar line that I noticed. I may go back and watch again. (which is very hard to do in freestyle I wouldn’t expect it)

Cole maintains his rhymes longer than Kendrick.

Cole was more interesting in his subject a little (more coherent stream oh thought)

Kendrick had more interesting word play.

I give the round to K Dot on points. Not a ko. But he was better.

You aren’t even gonna touch Juice, eh? :slight_smile: Ok. Fair enough.

I completely disagree with your assessment re Kendrick hitting the beat. He did have the better wordplay but it was incongruent with the beat. Cole, OTOH, similar to another great freestyler Logic (whose music im overall not a fan of), gets stronger as he progresses with his flow. He’s a storyteller, a social critic. More impressive to me than clever wordplay.

And when you say J Cole is “absolutely correctly rated”, I get the impression that you mean that in a somewhat critical slant? Because ive never really understood the critics and the detractors of Cole. Not so much their positions on his music style and content but the intensity with which they express those positions.

He frequently gets mischaracterized as judgmental and rigidly moralistic because he is basically the sole voice out there speaking to the issues plaguing the new generation of hip hop culture and in turn American black culture. In my ignorant white post-relevant bubble, I see him as a much needed voice addressing the virulent strain of toxic masculinity that plagues the American black young male identity.

And all of this fails to even touch on the surprising freestyle mastery of Juice. As much as i love Flatbush, i wasnt expecting what Juice delivered. Left me just silent, digesting his flow. Both he and Cole delivered a crisper, more complete total package than KL. But I don’t hate K either, maybe he was just having an off day. Happens to the best of us. But he didnt grow into his flow, he degenerated into a frenetic, discombobulated flow.

And madsircool, this thread isnt a complete synopsis of the best all-time freestylers in the history of rap. It is simply a comparison of three current, cerebral anti-mumble rappers. But Eminem definitely has genuine freestyle skills few can touch. At least early Em. And Tupac, in all his greatness, didnt shine the brightest as a off-the-dome spitter. Tupac was the pioneer, or at least perfector, of the diss track.

I ended up having to turn it off before I got to juice sadly. I dig the Flatbush Zombies though and do appreciate Juice in a general way. I’ll go back and watch the rest at some point today. It’s possible I’m staning for Kendrick a little and forgiving him losing the beat. We will call it a draw on that note because Cole absolutely did a few times too. He recovered, but he messed it up. It makes it closer, but I still give the overall point win to Kendrick on a point by point bar by bar basis. But only just. Cole is great at what he does.

I’m not meaning to be super critical of Cole. He is, rightly, thought of as one of the top 5 rappers from the last 10ish years. I don’t know why people think that makes him under rated. Probably top 5 in the current century. He’s skilled and everyone knows it. He knows it.

My issue with Cole is how he utilizes his skills, which I think is generally to make boring music. But that’s me. I really wanted to like KOD, I listened to it the day it dropped and was very excited! but it was not as brilliant as HE thought it was. It was fine, but sort of easy and boring. It skirts addressing actual problems but doesn’t actually have anything super interesting to say about them. He also always ALWAYS sounds better on someone else’s beat.

I honestly wish we got more Cole like you see in this video. We haven’t see this Cole for a few albums. I think he keeps trying to make another Forest Hill Drive and you can’t catch lighting like that twice.

I clearly have feelings!

I don’t know anyone else is going to post in this, but imm be around for as long as you want to talk. No one nerds out on hip hop with me in real life.

Just to liven this thread up, I wanted to introduce my hometown’s Eminem. Josh Mckay is a local Flint rapper who is surpringly good. If Post Malone can get a record deal doing nothing but whining about his ex-girlfriend, then Josh Mckay deserves a record deal too.

You really should listen to Juice when you get a chance. Just skip to about the 6:45 mark. Thats when he starts.