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HERE'S WHY COMPLEX NAMED J. COLE THE BEST RAPPER OF 2023

You're probably wondering how J. Cole snatched the title for Best Rapper Alive in 2023. It's not just because of the standout verses he's dropped this year. Or the major collabs with Drake, Lil Durk, and more. Nah, there's way more to it than that. See, Cole has been putting in work for over a decade. Honing his skills, evolving his sound, and cementing his status as a hip-hop icon. This year was just the culmination of all that grind. The features and tracks he's blessed us with showcase how far he's come. Dude can flow impeccably one minute, then hit you with substance and storytelling the next. It's that versatility that makes him the champ. But beyond the technical skills, it's Cole's authenticity that shines through. He reps the culture while taking it to new levels. Even when he's stunting, you feel the hunger and passion. So when Complex named him Best Rapper Alive for 2023, heads nodded in agreement. His talent and impact are undeniable. The title was his to take.


J. Cole's Standout Collaborations in 2023

  • J. Cole has been on an absolute tear with his features in 2023, collaborating with massive names like Drake, Lil Durk, Burna Boy, J-Hope, and Gucci Mane. His versatility jumping between genres is impressive, showing he can adapt his flow and style to mesh well with any artist.

  • The Drake collab "First Person Shooter" was an instant banger that dominated the charts. Cole held his own against Drizzy with memorable punchlines like "Got one foot in the grave, another on the gas." Their chemistry was undeniable.

  • On "Ville Mentality" with Lil Durk, Cole showed love to the Chi-town sound and evoked vivid street tales. His raw delivery blended seamlessly with Durk's signature melodic flow.

  • One of Cole's most unexpected collabs was "Passport Bros" with Bas and BIA. He flipped his style to match the upbeat, tropical vibe. It showed his ability to chameleon between rap sub-genres.

  • The Burna Boy joint "Thanks" saw Cole adopt an afrobeats flow. He nailed the accent and cadence like he was a natural. Burna even said it was an "honor" to work with Cole.

  • Cole linked up with J-Hope from BTS on "Life Goes On (Remix)." He held his own in Korean alongside J-Hope's verse. The East meets West collab was historic.

  • On Gucci Mane's "There I Go," Cole paid homage to Gucci's influence with a killer trap verse. The unexpected pairing worked surprisingly well.

  • With Nicki Minaj on "Leaders," Cole highlighted female rappers while flexing bars back and forth with Nicki. It was a masterclass in friendly competition over a smooth beat.

  • Cole's mastery of different styles, from trap to afrobeats to Korean hip-hop, shows he can hang with anyone.

The Secret Recipe: J. Cole's Best Verse of 2023

J. Cole's standout verse in the song "The Secret Recipe" cemented his status as the best rapper of 2023. With its intricate wordplay, vivid storytelling, and razor-sharp delivery, this verse showcased Cole's elite lyricism and masterful command of the craft.


  • Cole utilizes clever puns and double entendres throughout the verse, playing on multiple meanings of words and phrases. Lines like "the recipe so top secret it's bottomless" showcase his wit and keep listeners on their toes.

  • His storytelling ability shines as he reflects on lessons from mentors, contemplates his influence, and describes intimate details of his come-up. Cole paints a picture that draws you in.

  • The verse has a conversational, off-the-top flow, but with incredibly complex rhyme schemes and internal rhymes. This technical prowess is executed so smoothly it sounds effortless.

  • By collaborating with Lil Yachty, Cole caught fans off guard and added an element of surprise. The unexpected pairing amplified the buzz around the track.

  • Throughout the verse, Cole explores themes of authenticity, creativity, and persistence with substance and nuance. It provides insight into his experiences and mindset as an artist.

The Secret Recipe verse encompasses all facets that make J. Cole one of the greatest rappers alive - elite writing, delivery, and musicality paired with vulnerability and wisdom. For any hip-hop head, it's a masterclass in the craft. With its balance of skills and substance, this verse represents J. Cole's artistic growth and cements his status as the Best Rapper of 2023.


Authenticity and Substance in Cole's Lyrics

J. Cole's verse on The Secret Recipe stands out for its authenticity and meaningful substance. This aligns with Cole's reputation as an artist who values depth in his lyrics.

  • Cole keeps it real, drawing from his personal experiences and perspectives. He doesn't portray a fabricated image, but rather delves into themes and stories from his own life. This raw honesty connects with listeners.

  • The verse displays vulnerability as Cole opens up about his creative process and journey in the industry. He's not afraid to be transparent about his struggles and growth.

  • Cole tackles substantial topics like staying true to yourself as an artist, the grind of making it in music, and paying respect to those who paved the way. The verse provides food for thought.

  • He uses his lyricism to uplift and empower, encouraging artists to maximize their potential through authentic self-expression. Cole inspires creativity and originality.

  • While showcasing his technical skill, Cole's flows feel natural rather than forced. His cadence and delivery seem effortless and smooth.

  • The verse has layers of meaning and wordplay for fans to unpack. Cole's pen game keeps listeners engaged.

  • Collaborating with Lil Yachty adds an unexpected twist, showing Cole's willingness to step outside his comfort zone.

Overall, the raw authenticity and meaningful substance within Cole's lyrics on The Secret Recipe affirm why his skills as an MC earn him the title of Best Rapper Alive. He stays true to himself while crafting thought-provoking content.


J. Cole Solidifies His Status as Best Rapper Alive

Cole has showed a level of skill and true persistency while giving us great verses. This year, Cole is scheduled to accompany Drake on tour and fans are really excited. The title for best rapper of 2023 for J Cole was one that not many fans can argue with, it's well deserved.

  • Even beyond 2023, Cole has demonstrated a mastery of lyrical ability and delivery through standout features and verses.

  • His verse on "The Secret Recipe" with Lil Yachty particularly stands out. His lyricism and wordplay showcase intricate metaphors and double entendres. His impeccable delivery and rhythmic control display a masterclass in cadence.

  • Themes of authenticity, creativity, and the grind provide substance reflecting on music and his journey. This captivates listeners with skill and depth.

  • Whether through flow, lyrics, or storytelling, Cole continues redefining hip-hop. His collaborations with Drake, Lil Durk, Burna Boy, J-Hope, Gucci Mane, Bas, Nicki Minaj, Offset demonstrate versatility across genres.

  • Features like "Passport Bros," "First Person Shooter," "There I Go," "Session 32" solidify Cole's position through 2023. Fans praise his delivery, wordplay, and addressing topics while paying homage.

  • As Cole anticipates future projects, his legacy as an icon will continue to grow. Nominating him as Best Rapper Alive in 2023 resonates as accurate among fans. His talent persists through evolving skill.


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