Friday Night Lights is the third official mixtape from Fayetteville, North Carolina rapper J. Cole. It was released on 12 November 2010. The mixtape was to originally be called Villematic and contain J. Cole's previous leaks and freestyles, however, J. Cole later stated it would have original material. The mixtape became the second most searched and trending topics on Google and Twitter respectively following its release. Some songs on the mixtape were slated to be on his debut album at one point or another. J. Cole's Friday Night Lights won Best Mixtape of the Year at the BET Hip Hop Awards 2011. The mixtape has been viewed over 2,411,471 times, streamed over 703,486 times, and downloaded over 892,062 times on mixtape site DatPiff. On June 26, 2013 J. Cole announced that he would be re-releasing The Warm Up and Friday Night Lights for retail sale, in order to give them the push they deserved.
The bonus track on the mixtape, "Looking for Trouble" was released for free on 7 November 2010 by Kanye West as part of his series G.O.O.D. Fridays where he released a song every Friday for multiple months until Christmas of 2010.
A video for "In the Morning" was shot during a concert in Paris. J. Cole and Drake performed the song live on many occasions, such as Drake's Lights Dreams and Nightmares Tour. J. Cole said “It was my first time in Paris, and I got a text from Drake. And it was him just telling me he heard 'In The Morning' for the first time. My real fans will know that it's an older song,” J.Cole tells VIBE. “He said it was incredible, and I’ve always wanted to bring that record back to life because the original version I recorded in my bedroom—in my old crib, in my small room.” Feeling the time was right for two of rap’s most talked about rookies to team up, Cole calmly told Drake that he wanted to revamp the record.
AllHipHop gave the mixtape a rare classic rating of 10/10 saying, "Friday Night Lights is a mixtape with very few blemishes and faults. Cole nicely nits together a very interesting precursor to his upcoming album “Cole World” and it holds its own as one of the most complete mixtapes of the year. Is he “The One”? Well we do not know that yet – but Friday Night Lights definitely has us paying attention."  In the same vein, Lost In The Sound gave the mixtape 88/100 saying, "Friday Night Lights is a great effort from Cole all around, showcasing both his lyrical and production talents, but still addressing all of the emotional issues that have become the ‘bread-and-butter’ of Cole’s musical repertoire." Robert Christgau, writing for MSN Music, gave the mixtape a three-star honorable mention, indicating "an enjoyable effort consumers attuned to its overriding aesthetic or individual vision may well treasure." He felt that there are several good songs, but few "irresistible ones", and cited both "Blow Up" and "Farewell" as highlights.