Chicago’s Jelani Lateef is a rapper best known for his thought provoking lyrics. In 2010 he launch Manhood Ent., following the loss of his daughter’s mother to cancer, making him a single father with dreams of making it in the music industry.
Jelani Lateef wrote and produced his latest release, “Cold Days and Dark Nights.” The EP starts off with an inspiring introduction (The Pursuit of Happyness) from the actual movie “The Pursuit of Happiness,” about not giving up on your dream.
The EP then goes into “Action,” with electric guitars that take precedence in this song.
“Things are twisted, so now I’ve been enlisted to put it all back together, got the rap feens addicted. I’m trying to push a different agenda, but ignorance is still the bliss.”
“Get them to think before they throw their life away, before they become free labor and barely a teenager. Making license plates or scooping garbage roadside.”
This track touches on the choices many face in our society, so it’s refreshing to see an up-and-coming artist touch base on these social issues.
“Book of Life” tells the story about Lateef’s life struggle and how he went about pursuing his dream. This song delivers a slow and steady pace.
“I found my book of life and took a look. The pages just like a road map, so many paths I could’ve took. Well I better start another chapter, the money, the name and the fame I’m coming after. The devil tried to manage my career, and I didn’t even know his commission was my soul.”
The “Cold Days Dark Nights” rapper continues to talk about how at one time he went after the fast paced lifestyle of fancy cars and women, but somehow grounded himself overcame the trials he faced as an up and coming rapper.
“I’m a Star” has a hard-hitting beat and Lateef’s flow also picks. He goes harder on this track than all the rest of his songs.
Here Jelani Lateef talks about none other than being a star and achieving his goal no matter what challenges he faces.
“Ima get it, as long as I continue to be existing. The definition of a solider I defend my position. A rapper’s biggest fear, I’m too advanced to engineer.”
The Chorus, “No matter what it take Ima get mine. I’m a star, how can I not shine?”
“Look What You Done” visits takes listeners back to a lighter flow, it’s more of a love song. He speaks to an ex-girlfriend and is apologetic for the heartbreak he caused her.
“I hear you doing pretty good, got a home and a seed on the way. I guess you should get a piece of heaven after all the hell that I gave, but you’re a big contribution to the man I became.”
The chorus, “There I was giggling about the games I had played with many hearts, and I’m not saying no names. Then the thoughts occurred, tear drops made her eyes burn, and I said to myself, look what you’ve done to her.”
It’s easy to see where this EP is headed: positive, uplifting lyrics, with a little something for the ladies. While you can respect the grind of one person putting an EP together (lyrics and production wise), it lacks hard punchlines and an attention-grabbing flow.
“Cold Days and Dark Nights” Rating: 5 out of 10
Download Jelani Lateef’s “Cold Days and Darks Nights” or stream it on Soundcloud: