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Breakdown: J. Cole's Rhyme Scheme on J.I.D's "Off Deez"

Let's break down J. Cole's superb verse on J.I.D.'s "Off Deez."
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With last week’s release of 1-888-88-DREAM, Dreamville began the rollout of their much-anticipated compilation album, Revenge of the Dreamers III

Ahead of its release, let’s reflect on J.I.D’s “Off Deez”—from the Atlanta native’s 2018 project DiCaprio 2—the most technical collaboration Dreamville has produced over the past year.

“Off Deez” includes an intro made possible by DJBooth’s Yoh, and one of J.I.D’s most impressive verses to date, but the song’s highlight is undoubtedly J. Cole’s show-stealing guest appearance. In crowning this effort as Cole’s best guest feature ever, Yoh wrote “the pressure of J.I.D’s opening verse challenged his label head to use the record as an opportunity to exhibit the type of explosive performance unlike any he’s done before.”

We can see this in the following breakdown of the verse:

J. Cole Off Deez J.I.D Lyrics
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Some takeaways from J. Cole’s "Off Deez" verse above:

  • The verse is 24 bars long and contains 353 words
  • 213 of those 353 words are unique, or 60%
  • 191 of those 353 words contain significant rhymes, or 54.1%
  • With 240 significant rhymes, J. Cole averages 10 rhymes per bar

The defining characteristic of Cole’s verse is his flow. What’s most striking isn’t the speed, but how Cole can approximate J.I.D’s flow, with some sections an exact replica.

For example, below is a line-by-line comparison of rhyme structure (the first two lines are J.I.D’s opening couplet, and the second two are Cole’s):

j-cole-off-deez-rhyme-scheme-insert-2

The bold syllables are the rhymes essential to replicating J.I.D’s flow. In the above example, J.I.D’s rhymes are on the half-bar or end rhymes, as he follows a AB-AB/A-AB rhyme scheme structure (playboysay, boy/graveslave, boy). Cole replicates this format precisely, with his related rhymes being two-sixtruth is/movKubrick.

By harnessing J.I.D’s inspiring flow, Cole was able to craft a miraculous verse that’s as impressive as it is comprehensive. For the sake of rap nerds the world over, may the healthy competition present on “Off Deez” be found across ROTD3.

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