J Cole: "Who Dat"

North Carolina rapper/producer J. Cole is Jay-Z's first signing to his new Roc Nation imprint. Though Jigga sees Cole as rap's future, his debut single is lodged in the recent past. "Who Dat" echoes the timeless flamethrowing of early-2000s Roc-A-Fella tracks like Freeway's "What We Do" or Memphis Bleek's "My Mind Right": repetitive head-knocking beat, chopped-up soul-sample stammer, and no one bothering to croon a chorus. Hov himself says it reminded him of Biggie's "Hypnotize." Its minimalism makes for a bold, unlikely debut in the age of the Rihanna/Hayley/Drake monster hook, but Cole's beats and boasts approach is a breath of fresh air.