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Cole World - The Sideline Story

J Cole

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Album Review

Anyone who encountered his numerous mixtapes can tell you that before his official debut landed, rapper/producer J. Cole had spent some time bringing the whole Drake, Wale, and Big Sean style to a more street level. It’s worth mentioning because Cole World: The Sideline Story has little of that debut desire to cross over, and while the multi-talented Cole is a skilled, interesting beat-maker in his own right, a superstar production would have certainly made this album more approachable. Instead, No I.D. — the biggest behind-the-boards name here — turns in a sluggy, druggy construction for “Never Told,” Cole's deep, rich study of father/son confidence. Cole handles most of the rest on his own, turning in B+ stabs at dubstep (“Mr. Nice Watch” with guest and label boss Jay-Z), indie-hop (“Cole World” or “flossin’ with a laptop”), and his own humbler version of the Roc-A-Fella sound (the great single “Lights Please”). Add an “Intro” and then a part III — the first two parts to be found on earlier mixtapes — and you’re practically telling the aboveground crowd they’re stale from the start, but the tradeoff is a talent that has matured in the underground and is free of any forced outside influence. Cole’s fantastic style shoots off bold punch lines one minute (“I blow brains, Cobain-style”) and then goes deep the next, with equal skill and all while stringing together eye-level, real-life stories that have that classic flow. The reservation count is high and the flaw count is zero, and in this case, that’s the proper formula for a rich hip-hop album. Take a couple listens, let it sink in, and then discover that Cole World is one hell of a debut.

Customer Reviews

legendary

history in the making!

It's ok

He didn't go hard enough on this

Love It

Cole World, amazing. J. Cole is the future.

Biography

Born: January 28, 1985 in Frankfurt, Germany

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Producer and MC J. Cole was the first artist to signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label. Born in Germany but raised in North Carolina, Cole grew up with a mother who loved rock and folk while his father was a fan of hardcore hip-hop artists like 2Pac and Ice Cube. Graduating high school, his grades were good enough to earn a scholarship, but hip-hop had taken hold of his life and he had decided that N.Y.C. was where artists went to get signed. As such, he attended the city’s St. John's University on an...
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Cole World - The Sideline Story, J Cole
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