Jelani Lateef is a rapper from the southside of Chicago with over a decade of experience in making music. Also known as J Fury, Jelani specializes in the production of thought-provoking hip hop music that is hardcore, edgy, and very ambitious. In addition to being a rapper, he also works as a producer and a CEO of his company titled Manhood Entertainment. Since becoming CEO in 2011, he has worked on four major projects, with his latest and current project titled Cold Days and Dark Nights. It’s a rap/hip hop mixtape that was released on January 15th.

Previous projects include the mixtapes titled My Soul to Keep (2013) and My Soul to Keep 2 (2014). Jelani is continuing to win fans with his critically acclaimed music, which contains the substance that makes him stand out from the mainstream rap world highly deluded by superficial interests, such as materialism and status competition.

Vocal Display

Jelani’s voice is serious and tastefully restless. It is very forceful and attention-grabbing. He sounds as though he has a substantially important message to share with the world, and he does.

This robust energy is present within every song, so I don't hear a slacker rapping. The height of his aggression is not off-putting either and does not overpower the articulation of the lyrics. The flow of his wordplay is stylishly steady, with a clear output that makes it easy for me to understand the lyrics. Also, I admire the implementation of the rhythmic and upbeat background vocals, in addition to other creative excerpts.

Favorite song for vocals: “Stay Strong”


The instrumentation is powerful and extraordinarily catchy. Like typical rap music, the songs are beat-heavy with a lively assortment of different percussion sounds. They are undeniably industrious and flashy in production, which highlights the sharply penetrating sounds of entertaining underground rap. The composition of the instrumentals for each song are not too gaudy for my musical taste buds, such as with a number of commercial rap songs that sound overdone.

Jelani does not leave me feeling bored, as each song truly has its unique combination of sounds that are good enough for hip hop lovers to vibe to with pleasure.

Favorite song for instrumentals: “Dreams”

Lyrical Essence

This mixtape’s no-nonsense lyrics are charged with love, truth, and pain. Jelani does a great job of being a storyteller throughout the record, especially in the bittersweet song “Look What You Done.” He takes a highly confident approach to sharing with his listeners the cutthroat hardships of life, such as the struggles of living in a slum-like environment. He expresses troubles that are fit for numerous areas of life, which nicely showcase his mental complexity.

I love the way he uses analogies/metaphors that allow his poetic ingenuity to shine through songs. The overall gist of the lyrics offers listeners headstrong motivation and tough love that is worth appreciating.

Favorite song for lyrics: “No Fear”

Final Thoughts

I give Jelani’s latest mixtape a 10 out of 10 rating. He strongly emits authenticity that so many mainstream rappers are lacking in the music world today. The way he keeps it real with listeners through the disclosure of meaningful life lessons show he is a musical force to be reckoned with. I am looking forward to seeing more of his artistic visions brought to life in the future.

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