Jelani Lateef’s ‘Cold Days’ a hot new album from the experienced Chicago rapper
With “Cold Days and Dark Nights,” independent hip hop performer Jelani Lateef explores a hip hop sound that others have traversed quite successfully before, but that doesn’t make his stamp on the style any less impressive.
Firstly, the comparisons to Kanye West, another Chicago-bred star, are unavoidable. He’s got the same flow as Yeezus, however it’s different enough to be judged on it’s own merits.
You also can’t help but hear cues borrowed from Big Boi, NAS and Common rolled in the tracks, as well. What Lateef does well, essentially, is use those familiar styles as the soil to plant his own seeds in.
The way he does that is through authentic lyrics and dynamic beats that add a another layer the tracks. The beats won’t blow you away, but they don’t do anything to distract you from the rhyming, either.
When it comes to the lyrics, Lateef paints a picture with every rhyme that are just as thoughtful as they are catchy. Some of the stand-out tracks on the new album include “Book of Life” and “I’m a Star.”
The album’s tone fits the title well, also. You can’t help feel a little vulnerable and raw throughout the 16-track album.
Going beyond just the music, Lateef’s story of how he got into hip hop adds to his mystique as well.
According to his official online bio, in 2010 his daughter’s mother died, leaving him a single parent. In response, Lateef started Manhood Ent., a brand that he claimed would “represent men stepping to the plate and handling responsibility.”
The company’s mission statement is: “Striving to be a popular source of music and entertainment, while portraying men in a positive, powerful and inspirational light.”
Lateef, also known as J Fury, has been in the rap game for more than 12 years and has been an active mainstay in the Chicago rap scene. He’s taken on more duties in the industry, also, becoming a producer and CEO of his own brand, as mentioned above.
Lateef’s strengths are his lyrics and his ability to take what you’ve heard before and alter it ever so slightly. He’s got a professional sound that could easily land him on any number of hip hop charts as his exposure continues to grow.
Finally, while some might find his repeated proclamation “I’m a star, how could I not shine?” to be a bit egotistical, at the end of the day, it’s not any less true no matter how many times he says it.