Artist: J. Cole
Release Date: 2009

Prior to Cole, the last producer-MC that Jay-Z co-signed turned out to be Kanye West. Needless to say, J. Cole's post-Roc Nation debut tape was primed for scrutiny, however, the Fayettenam rep did not disappoint. With thought-driven songs like "Can I Live" and "Grown Simba," The Warm Up was an indisputable classic that proved a smart mixtape project, with intriguing lyrics and content could be made without over-intellectualizing it's audience to sleep.