Posted on 04 October 2011.
“No pressure, no diamonds,” – Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlyle; a quote that reflects directly to J. Cole and his debut Studio Album release, Cole World: The Sideline Story. The self-proclaimed Simba of hip-hop brought his emotional, lyrically driven creativity for the world to enjoy on September 27th.
As for great debut albums go, this does not deserve to be placed on the same shelf as those legendary releases (i.e: Ready To Die- Biggie, Illmatic – Nas, The Marshall Mathers LP – Eminem, etc…), but none the less a very good and well put together album. Tupacs debut record wasn’t his most polished work either; he continued to get better and better.
Songs like Mr. Nice Watch and Work Out, my only knocks on the record, seemed like a requirement to include on the album for the sheer purpose of portraying the ‘commercial rap lifestyle’ (as I can describe it), departing from his “I’m one of you guys” persona.
That being said, the Roc Nation-Jay Z protégé has always had his own style of lyricism and technique, rapping from his heart and emotion instead of his salary. Something that has set him apart from his peers so far in his career, and he continues this with songs like: Dollar and a Dream III, Daddy’s Little Girl, and my favorite song on the record: Lost Ones, a story about a Mother-to-be and a young man arguing over the decision of an abortion, which is a perfect example of J. Coles sometimes extreme narrative style.
J. Cole is also fearless in showing his upbringing for the world to see in his song Breakdown; a direct message to his father that was never there and his mother that was addicted to crack. He also tells his own tales of tribulation on becoming a successful musical artist with songs, God’s Gift, Rise and Shine, and Sideline Story – which is an excellent illustration to what the album stands for.
He also brings back works like: In the Morning ft. Drake, and Lights Please. Songs he’s been working on perfecting since his 2009 mixtape release, The Warm Up.
J. Cole’s unique style has never ceased to impress and although this release may not be the classic that many hip-hop fans hoped for, it’s still an outstanding album and a great testament to the person and rapper J. Cole is.
To his fans, Cole is already a star with his lyrical ability and effortless storytelling flow, and with Cole World: The Sideline Story, he looks to jump off the bench and into superstardom – and it just might do it for him.
Cole World: The Sideline Story dropped worldwide Monday, September 27 and the reception has been well received. Do your eardrums a favor and give it a listen.