Jelani Lateef reigns as the professional of the rap game on Cold Days and Dark Nights. His flow remains fluid and his topics are seemingly more diverse than previous releases. And even though this is obviously "positive-hop," it's not corny. So, artists can keep it real, without keeping it real damn ridiculous. Lateef discusses difficult topics like infidelity, and domestic violence, without glorifying those topics or preaching to his audience.
The production here--by Lateef--is just okay. The previous effort was better. The tracks groove, but they don't bang or pop. But you have to give props to any "vocalist" that is a lyricist and becomes a producer, and CEO. Because of his forward thinking and managerial mind, we'll never hear horror stories of "Jelani Lateef, the platinum artist that made no money." Of course, we may never hear stories of "Jelani Lateef, the platinum artist" at all. It's hard for me not to think in those terms, because I believe that major record labels and mainstream radio is still the goal. But that may not be true here, or even anymore.
Lateef maintains a strong fan base. If his goal is to appease this fan base and dispense a positive message, he met that goal. Like the last release, this LP sounds like stepping out of a time machine at Jack the Rapper. I played it for friends and they said what I say--"90s." But for many of the traditional heads, 90s rap is the game, and today's ? isn't even practice, much less a scrimmage.
But when "Flashback" started, the ladies' heads started nodding. That nodding reappeared on " Gone." And personally, I appreciate his nod to the G.O.A.T.--"L.L." (in our Rock the Bells voice). I prefer the previous project, but Jelani Lateef is still a wordsmith with positive velocity.