J. Cole’s Top Features and Verses of 2023: How He Crushed the Competition and Made History

J. Cole’s best features of 2023
HOT 107.9's Birthday Bash 2023
HOT 107.9's Birthday Bash 2023 / Paras Griffin/GettyImages

J. Cole, legally known as Jermaine Lamarr Cole has firmly established himself as a prominent figure in the hip-hop scene of 2023. His exceptional talent and memorable verses showcase his mastery of the craft and influence on the culture. This article delves into J. Cole's notable collaborations in 2023, featuring renowned artists such as Drake, Lil Durk, Burna Boy, J-Hope, Gucci Mane, Bas, Nicki Minaj, Offset, and more.

J. Cole's Collaborations in 2023

J. Cole has been an active feature artist in 2023, demonstrating versatility and lyrical prowess across various tracks with artists from diverse genres and backgrounds. Below are his best features

1. Bas - Passport Bro

J. Cole and Bas, both signed to Dreamville, deliver a smooth and catchy celebration of their friendship and travels worldwide. J. Cole's verse is filled with witty references and clever wordplay, reflecting on his experiences in different countries.

While the song received widespread acceptance, fans have varied reactions. Some perceive the lyrics as commonplace, interpreting them as boasting about every aspect of the artist's life. A fan on reddit have to say:

"If you read the lyrics it just seems like another generic "I'm rich and famous and I have sex with different women in different countries" song as opposed to what the passport bro movement actually is.

It reminds me of how terms like "based" or "simp" get adopted by mainstream culture and watered down from their original context/meaning on the internet."


2. Gucci Mane - There I Go

The collaboration with Gucci Mane is a hard-hitting and energetic banger, showcasing the skills of two respected rappers. J. Cole's flawless verse effortlessly flows through the beat, leaving listeners mesmerized by his impeccable delivery.

Similar to numerous other musical releases, this track has garnered a variety of responses, with some listeners expressing admiration while others hold reservations. Nevertheless, J. Cole consistently delivers on his craft. Explore diverse fan reactions in the snippets below.

Related: Gucci Mane: Breath of Fresh Air album review

3. J-Hope - On the Street

Much like the ebb and flow of opinions on many songs, this particular track by J. Cole has evoked a mixed response. Opinions are split, yet J. Cole showcases his mastery once again. However a fan beautifully sum up the storyline below:

"The song pays tribute to hip-hop culture where Hoseok’s dream of becoming an artist started. The story the music video tells is so beautiful, with Hoseok starting from the underground then rising to roof where he meets J Cole his idol, his muse, the artist that inspire him. The friendship between J-Hope and J.Cole is so warm and wholesome, you can tell how much appreciation they have for each other. Absolutely love this collab.!!!!"


4. Burna Boy - Thanks

In Thanks, a powerful anthem, J. Cole and Burna Boy express gratitude for fans, family, and faith. J. Cole's emotional verse reflects on his journey, motivating others to pursue their dreams.

In keeping with the tradition of varied responses to musical compositions, this particular song has stirred a range of reactions among listeners. Despite the divided opinions, J. Cole's artistry shines through.

5. Summer Walker - To Summer, From Cole (Audio Hug)

This heartfelt collaboration with Summer Walker features a soothing and intimate song. J. Cole's sincere verse conveys emotion and affection, leaving a lasting impact on listeners.

This heartfelt collaboration not only expresses J. Cole's gratitude and support for Summer Walker but also extends his love to fellow R&B artists such as SZA and Ari Lennox. The song, lauded for its chemistry, soulful beats, and personal lyrics, has garnered acclaim from both fans and critics alike.

There's even speculation among fans that J. Cole subtly teased his upcoming album, The Fall Off, in his verse. Beyond the music, this track beautifully exemplifies the profound bond among artists and the transformative power of music to inspire and uplift.

6. Lil Yachty- Secrete Recipes

The two rappers effortlessly blend their styles over The Alchemist's production. Yachty's higher-pitched voice meshes with the laid-back freestyle. This created an unexpectedly lyrical rap song.

This Cole's standout verse resonates with fans, marking it as one of his best of the year. 

Lil Yachty's transformative sound and consistent releases in 2023 position him as an exciting force, and the duo's collaboration adds a captivating layer to their careers. However, opinions on the track vary, with some praising Yachty's evolution and Cole's impact, while others find it somewhat monotonous, particularly due to the looping instrumental. 

Despite differing perspectives, the ongoing legendary run of Lil Yachty and J. Cole's stellar performance undeniably make "The Secret Recipe" a standout moment in their discographies.

Related: Lil Yachty Sounds Off: Hip-Hop’s Turbulent Waters and His Take on the Industry

7. Lil Durk - All My Life

J. Cole and Lil Durk deliver a stunning and impressive song, exploring struggles and triumphs. J. Cole's versatile flow showcases his skill and consistency.

This track showcases a young choir harmonizing in the chorus and delves into the criticism and hurdles confronted by both rappers throughout their careers. Nominated for Best Melodic Rap Performance at the 66th Annual Grammy Awards, the song is praised for its resonant chorus and affectionate melody—a departure from Lil Durk's typical aggressive drill style, embodying a more reflective and positive tone.

8. Drake - First Person Shooter

Teaming up with Drake in this legendary and epic song, J. Cole's extraordinary verse tells a gripping story of a heist gone wrong, showcasing exceptional storytelling skills.

J. Cole's dominance on this track stems from various factors, sparking discussions and acclaim. One standout reason lies in his metaphorical use of the first-person shooter genre, cleverly illustrating his and Drake's approach to featuring on tracks. Known for effortlessly overshadowing the main act, J. Cole brings a distinctive flair to his verses, establishing himself as a force in the rap scene.

Moreover, J. Cole's lyrical prowess extends to reflections on his sustained success, boldly asserting the trio of himself, Drake, and Kendrick Lamar as the big three in rap music. Drawing parallels to legends like Muhammad Ali, he expresses a desire to collaborate with YoungBoy Never Broke Again, adding layers of depth to his verse. This multifaceted approach, combined with metaphorical language and cultural references, contributes to the resounding impact of J. Cole's verses, capturing the essence of rap greatness and collaboration in the dynamic landscape of 2023.

The Best J. Cole Verse of 2023

The Secret Recipe stands out as J. Cole's best verse of 2023, hailed for its lyrical brilliance and impact on the rap scene. Fans and critics praise its phenomenal delivery, insightful wordplay, and storytelling abilities, addressing various topics, paying homage to mentors, challenging emerging artists, and revealing personal details.

J. Cole's 2023 standout verse in The Secret Recipe earns acclaim for several compelling reasons. His lyricism and wordplay, showcase his adept use of intricate metaphors and double entendres, resonating with fans who value depth in rap.

Additionally, Cole's impeccable delivery and rhythmic control contribute to the verse's impact, displaying a masterclass in cadence. The unexpected collaboration with Lil Yachty adds a surprising element, catching fans off guard and enhancing the verse's memorability.

Beyond technical skill, J. Cole delves into themes of authenticity, creativity, and the grind, providing substance that reflects on the music industry and his artistic journey. In essence, J. Cole's verse in The Secret Recipe emerges as a testament to his growth as an artist, captivating listeners with a blend of skill and depth.

Related: Lil Yachty Clarifies His "Beef" with Lil Uzi Vert: It's All About Competition

J. Cole's features and verses in 2023 solidify his position as an influential hip-hop artist. Whether through impeccable flow, thought-provoking lyrics, or captivating storytelling, J. Cole continues to redefine the genre. As we anticipate his future projects, his legacy as a hip-hop icon is poised to grow even stronger.

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