J.Cole has slowly become one of the most prominent,world renowned hip-hop artist since coming out in 2007. Who would have thought after signing to Jay-z’s Roc Nation label, releasing 3 critically acclaimed mixtapes, and touring with superstar artist like Drake and Rihanna, that young Jermaine would unleash, one of the most anticipated albums of 2011. After all the blood, sweat, and tears does this album ascend J.Cole into hip-hop’s starting 5, or is he better suited cheering on the sideline.
“I’m coming for what i’m owed” are the last words heard on the intro as the piano fades out and J.Cole story begins. Dollar And A Dream III sets the pace as Cole spills out his soul, referencing the stress of the new found fame, the lack of communication between him and his mother, this is the type of music that will turn a listener into a fan. Not the only introspective song on the album he digs even deeper on “Sideline Story”, painting a perfect picture of a starving artist that is finally seeing the light at the end of a very long tunnel.
One of the high points of the album come from J.Cole’s talent as of song writer. Making impressive records like Lost Ones which is basically a dialogue between a young couple that is struggling with the news of a unexpected pregnancy. Lost Ones is executed perfectly embodying the view point from not only the male but female perspective, i’m sure it will leave you feeling a certain away(YES MUSIC THAT MAKES YOU THINK/FEEL). Another great example is Lights Please which was previously released on J.Cole’s Warm Up mixtape, still the timeless theme highlighting the power of sex doesn’t make this record feel old or dated.
With a immense female fanbase that’s constantly growing it’s plenty of songs that women will love on here, especially the official first single Can’t Get Enough featuring well known girlfriend kidnapper Trey Songz. Produced by Brain Kidd it truly captivates a tropical sound and overall summer anthem that will drive ladies mad the moment it hits radio air waves. Of course In The Morning featuring Marvins Room’s favorite tenant Drake was one of the most quoted songs when released and pretty sure most wouldn’t complain, personally i felt it wasn’t necessary for this album much like the Kanye West/Paula Abdul sampled record “Work Out”(Yes it’s still very very bad).
Even with the insightful, subjective, and charming record’s Cole still has plenty where he is lyrically relentless. On “Cole World” he boast and brags about his current status in the industry, with 150 girls in the club starring at him i would gloat as well. Then you have the highly anticipated “Mr.Gold Watch” featuring the boss himself Jay-z. With production influenced by dubstep and electronica many people were turn off instantly by this song, but i can see it being a huge single since it’s quite catchy and has a nice little bounce to it.
Surprisingly Cole World:Sideline Story truly comes alive toward the very end of the album starting at track 11 with Nobody’s Perfect featuring Missy Elliot. This beat is pure colombian cocaine, while Cole and Missy chemistry is great. Rise and Shine, God’s Gift, and Breakdown are all very impressive songs. Rise and Shine is Cole at his finest, spitting with the same hunger that got him noticed. God’s Gift was originally the song that Cole planned for Jay-z to appear on and even without Jigga, this song is lavish. Probably my favorite song off the entire album is Breakdown with J.Cole going in-depth on subjects that seem to haunt him. This record honestly didn’t need that last verse…
So does Cole World:The Sideline Story revolutionize hip-hop? Is it what many would consider “a modern day classic”? I would honestly have to say no it’s neither, but it is a very solid debut album from a very young artist. I’d like to view this album as J.Cole foundation, that he will only build from. Producing a majority of the album(beats are all fire), and handling all the writing his potential shines even more immensely than before. The biggest flaw that brings the album down is the terrible transition from each song, a majority of the tracks don’t flow at all. Constantly shifting from Uptempo, very slow, mellow, ect which could have been easily solved if they cut some of the extra’s off(In The Morning, Workout, Never Told,). J.Cole story is still a must hear, one about how a artist who followed his dreams from North Carolina all the way to the big apple, and after many set backs his dream has finally became a reality.
J.Cole-Cole World: The Sideline gets a 3.5/5