Friday Night Lights (mixtape)

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Friday Night Lights
Mixtape by
ReleasedNovember 12, 2010 (November 12, 2010)
GenreHip hop
J. Cole chronology
The Warm Up
Friday Night Lights
Cole World: The Sideline Story

Friday Night Lights is the third official mixtape from Fayetteville, North Carolina rapper J. Cole. It was released on November 12, 2010.[1] The mixtape was to originally be called Villematic and contain J. Cole's previous leaks and freestyles,[2] however, Cole later stated it would have original material.[3] The mixtape became the second most searched and trending topics on Google and Twitter respectively following its release.[4][5] Most songs on the mixtape were slated to be on his debut album at one point or another. The mixtape has been viewed over 6,000,000 times, streamed over 2,000,000 times, and downloaded over 1,000,000 times on mixtape site DatPiff.[6] On June 26, 2013, 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.[7]


The original tracks on the mixtape were intended to be on Cole's debut album Cole World: The Sideline Story. However, because the label did not believe it would sell, Cole released the original songs with extra freestyles as a mixtape, but was forced to redo the entire album. "In The Morning" featuring Drake, was the only record from the mixtape to make the album cut.


Producers who contributed to the tape are J. Cole himself, Bink, Kanye West, L&X Music, Syience, & long-time friends Elite and Omen.

Track information[edit]

The bonus track on the mixtape, "Looking For Trouble" was released for free on November 7, 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.[8] In an interview with Complex magazine in November 2010 Cole talked about how the song came about saying:

Rapper Drake was featured on the track "In the Morning"

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. 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,” 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.[10]

Critical response[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
MSN Music (Expert Witness)(3-star Honorable Mention)(3-star Honorable Mention)(3-star Honorable Mention)[12]

Friday Night Lights received widespread acclaim from critics. 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." [14] 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." [15] Robert Christgau, writing for MSN Music, gave the mixtape a three-star honorable mention,[12] indicating "an enjoyable effort consumers attuned to its overriding aesthetic or individual vision may well treasure."[16] He felt that there are several good songs, but few "irresistible ones", and cited both "Blow Up" and "Farewell" as highlights.[12]

Friday Night Lights won Best Mixtape of the Year at the 2011 BET Hip Hop Awards.[17]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by J. Cole.

1."Friday Night Lights (Intro)"J. Cole1:45
2."Too Deep for the Intro"Cole3:45
3."Before I'm Gone"Cole4:24
4."Back to the Topic (Freestyle)"3:00
5."You Got It" (featuring Wale)Cole4:47
7."Enchanted" (featuring Omen)
8."Blow Up"Cole5:00
10."In the Morning" (featuring Drake)L&X Music3:54
12."The Autograph"Cole3:43
13."Best Friend"Timbaland3:25
14."Cost Me a Lot"Cole3:18
15."Premeditated Murder"Cole3:54
16."Home for the Holidays"Cole3:55
17."Love Me Not"Cole3:31
18."See World"
20."Looking For Trouble" (Bonus Track) (Kanye West featuring Pusha T, J. Cole, CyHi Da Prynce & Big Sean)Kanye West5:35
Total length:77:41

Sample credits

Additional credits

  • "Home for the Holidays" features additional background vocals by Beyoncé


  1. ^ Night Lights. November 12, 2010., 2 November 2010
  2. ^ November 2nd, 2010., 2 November 2010
  3. ^ November 2nd, 2010., 2 November 2010
  4. ^ [1] Archived November 16, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ [2][dead link]
  6. ^ "J. Cole - Friday Night Lights". DatPiff. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  7. ^ Morgan, Nakiya (June 26, 2013). "J. Cole Releasing The Warm Up and Friday Night Lights For Purchase". MTV News. Retrieved January 10, 2017.
  8. ^ Looking For Trouble - GOOD Friday [permanent dead link], 7 November 2010
  9. ^ J-23 (November 18, 2010). "J. Cole Talks About G.O.O.D. Friday Verse". HipHopDX. Retrieved January 10, 2017.
  10. ^ blame it on MEKA (November 15, 2010). "J. Cole Talks Drake Collab & Jay Electronica (Video)". 2DOPEBOYZ. Retrieved January 10, 2017.
  11. ^ Morel, Jacques. [3]. AllHipHop. Retrieved on 2010-11-29.
  12. ^ a b c Christgau, Robert (July 2, 2013). "Odds and Ends 031". MSN Music. Archived from the original on July 5, 2013. Retrieved July 2, 2013.
  13. ^ Breihan, Tom. [4]. Pitchfork Media. Retrieved on 2010-11-29.
  14. ^ "Reviews / Music : Review: J. Cole - Friday Night Lights". Retrieved 2011-09-27.
  15. ^ "Review: J. Cole - Friday Night Lights". Lost In The Sound. 2011-01-14. Archived from the original on 2011-08-20. Retrieved 2011-09-27.
  16. ^ Christgau, Robert (2000). "CG 90s: Key to Icons". Robert Christgau. Retrieved June 5, 2013.
  17. ^ Maher, Cristin (October 11, 2011). "2011 BET Hip-Hop Award Winners". PopCrush. Retrieved January 11, 2017.

External links[edit]