J. Cole – Cole World: The Sideline Story – Album Review
October 18, 2011 § 1 Comment
From the start of his come-up, J.Cole was compared to the likes of Drake and many others. But on September 27th, the North Carolina-bred rapper took a break from his successful mixtapes to give us his heavily anticipated debut album Cole World: The Sideline Story. After learning about Cole’s story and his passion to become the rapper he always envisioned in his dreams, I supported his motives and the release of his first album. Unfortunately, the hype was built too high for this album that it crashed. The album sales may be sky-rocketing, but I’ll pass on the ride.
“Dollar and a Dream III” is a decent intro to Cole World. It tells the listener about his come-up, his dreams and his life experiences. The track gives a nice background storyline to the album. It is followed by my favorite track, “Can’t Get Enough”. I love the beat on this record; it instantly took me back to Jigga Man’s “Big Pimpin” days. Cole is a true braggadocio on this track, referring to girls as hoes and sex objects, but it works. The track fits in with the hustler-type music of today, but distinguishes itself with its touch of Caribbean-flair.
“Lights Please” thus begins the decline of Cole World. The track doesn’t grab my attention; the beat is boring and Cole’s bars aren’t fresh. But the production of “Mr. Nice Watch” brings the much-needed flavor back into the record. The track reminds me of what Niggas in Paris’s step-sister would sound like. J. Cole tries to take it to that next level, but the experienced Jay-z overpowers the novice rapper.
The energy soon fizzles out once “Cole World” begins. The title track finds Cole trying to prove why he belongs in the rap game, but it is not believable. He already proved that with his mixtapes, there is no need to further embed it. The inescapable song inspired many of Facebook statuses, tweets, and Tumblr posts, “In The Morning” somehow found itself on this record. After hearing it a few months ago, I didn’t like it. I still don’t like it now. I feel that it’s too try hard. Once again, the guest artist (Drake) overshadows the main artist.
“Lost Ones” is by far best track off the album and a favorite among a majority of J. Cole fans. It is one of the realest and rawest tracks I’ve ever heard, speaking of a true story of relationships, love, and kids. We can all relate to or know someone who has been in a situation where keeping a child was in question. Cole did really well with this one.
As I was about to fall asleep listening to Cole World, J. Cole jolts me with the fiery “Rise and Shine”. The track finally brings some much-needed energy; J. Cole sounds motivated and hungry; traits that I was impatiently waiting for from the first half of the album.
“Work Out” adds fuel to the fire with its quirky Kanye West sample, and fun and cool swagger. I like that it is not as serious as the other tracks on the album. The album wraps up with “Who Dat”, a track that many establish with Cole’s first official appearance in the rap game. The song already a banger; it was released more than a year ago and still goes hard. I was surprised it made the album cut since it’s been out for so long, but I was happy to hear the J. Cole that I first took interest in.
Even though I’ve quietly given up on rap music for a while now, I still like to give new albums a chance. I was so ready to enjoy J. Cole’s debut album, but Cole World just ending up disappointing me. For one, the record has way too many tracks for a debut album. Most of them are fillers and weigh down the record. Leave that to the experienced artists like Christina Aguilera! The tracks are over thought and Cole tries too hard to prove himself to the world when we already know his potential. His past mixtapes are more truthful and show his talent and diversity more than this album. J. Cole’s overall flow on this album is very repetitive and lazy. The hype surrounding this album was deceiving. In the end, Cole World couldn’t live up to it.
Overall Rating: 3/5
Songs on Repeat
“Can’t Get Enough”
Songs to Skip
“Nothing Lasts Forever”
What are your thoughts on Cole World?