Thursday, September 29, 2011

J. Cole – Cole World: The Sideline Story (2011) – Review

J. Cole – Cole World: The Sideline Story
After Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch the Thrown, Cole World was my second most anticipated album of the year. Thus, I had high expectations as I sat down to listen to the album a few times (before deciding what to rate it). I like the album a lot. J. Cole’s lyricism and producing ability are both top notch. I also like the fact that for his debut he decided to only have a few features (Jay-Z, Drake, Missy Elliot, and Trey Songz), allowing the listener to really get to know his flow and message. For fans that have followed him for years, the inclusion of the tracks Lights Please (from The Warm Up) and In the Morning (from Friday Night Lights) off his mixtapes seems odd, but these two songs are great (especially Lights Please, still my favorite of his songs) and for those just discovering J. Cole they are musts and warrant being on the album (plus, In the Morning features Drake who will also draw potential fans). As much as I like the album, it is just not quite on the same level as the work of Kanye West (My Dark Twisted Fantasy is on the level everyone else in hip hop is lagging behind for example, and Watch the Throne just has songs on a different level too). But that said, it is close and still a wonderful hip hop record with many great songs (I particularly like, in addition to my song picks, In the Morning, Lost Ones, Nobody’s Perfect, Rise and ShineGod’s Gift, Who Dat, and Daddy’s Little Girl). I recommend every hip hop fan check out J. Cole (this album and his mixtapes), as he is certainly among the best – one album in. 4/5

Editor’s Song Picks:
1)      Lights Please – Produced by J. Cole
2)      Work Out – Produced by J. Cole
3)      Can’t Get Enough – Featuring Trey Songz, produced by Brian Kidd

Available on CD and Digital Download

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