Now after how many years I can officially say that the highly anticipated J. Cole album was most definitely worth the wait. The album is kicked off with an Intro, which begins with Jermaine Cole reminiscing on the day he was signed and drifts into is a very subtle composition where he raps about finally making it to this point. Now if you know anything about Jermaine Cole he’s the first signing to the Roc Nation label by Jay-Z himself. For the longest time I’ve been an avid follower, listener and fan of J. Cole, from his first mixtape ‘The Come Up’ Cole had many people in awe of the concepts he addressed from there to now, this album clearly shows the transition and you can see and hear his growth on his released album.
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Cole’s album, which was originally supposed to be released last year, was pushed back as he wasn’t sure if he was going to have features on his album and his single release ‘Who Dat’ didn’t go as originally planned. After that minor set back Cole returned with ‘Work Out’ which has had massive support from radio DJ’s.
The Sideline Story sees features from Trey Songz, label boss Jay-Z, Drake, and Missy Elliot. I must admit it’s great to hear Missy again, I’m sure I’m not the only one to agree on that.
Cole World: The Sideline Story marks that Cole is more than just an average rapper tipped off to be the saviour of hip-hop Cole still has a journey ahead of him. To me the album lacked a certain je ne sais quoi but one thing that is evident is Cole has a very bright future ahead of him with the right guidance and management. The lead single Work Out took a good while to grow on me and originally I was disappointed about for the fact that this wasn’t the music from Cole I had grown to like and admire so much. It felt like that single was something that was pushed by the label in bi for him to have some chart popularity. Finally hearing the long awaited colloboration with Hov himself on Mr Nice Watch had me a tad disheartened in the sense that I felt Hov was schooling Cole completely, maybe it was just the fact that Hov has attained so much wealth, so flaunting was easy task on the track, I would have loved to hear Cole give him a run for his acclaimed wealth. However the beat is mental and I do see this song being a favourite in the clubs and constant spin amongst the DJ’s.
A rather confusing moment was hearing Lights Please, in the scene that this is a song that is at least two years old up most but was initially the track that got Cole his deal, so maybe it has some sort of sentimental value.
In saying this Can’t Get Enough is an instant win for me, the beat which has such an inviting Brazilian/Samba feel to it, which invites such a relaxing feeling. One oftens imagines their self abroad on the sandy beach, with a mojito and females in bikini’s, it would have been such a bonus to have had Carlos Santana strumming away on the beat. Throught out the album you can hear Cole’s hunger as he approaches tracks such as Lost Ones with much conviction and passion, songs such as this are one’s that are often turned the blind eye to, as this are the deep meaningful tracks that represent hip hop and what it stands for.
Tracks such as Nobody’s Perfect embraces that soulful era of hip hop that has been very much exctinct in todays market, this song brings Monica – So Gone to mind but much respect to Cole as he clearly shows he’s a force to be reckoned with as a producer and not just a rapper. This song is very much a surprise as we get to hear vocals from the very much missed Missy Elliot, and I must say she adds her blend of creativity to this song.
One thing I will say is don’t listen to the album with “The Saviour of Hip Hop” in mind but merely as him still finding his feet, with time he will rise to that statement. With time he will find his sound as he develops.
All in all Cole World: The Sideline Story is a great album, very much a skip-less album that is a rarity from today’s musicians.
Cole World: The Sideline Story: Out 27th September 2011 – Pre-order on iTunes
2. Dollar and a Dream III
3. Can’t Get Enough (Feat. Trey Songz)
4. Lights Please
6. Sideline Story
7. Mr. Nice Watch (Feat. Jay-Z)
8. Cole World
9. In the Morning (Feat. Drake)
10. Lost Ones
11. Nobody’s Perfect (Feat. Missy Elliott)
12. Never Told (prod. by No I.D.)
13. Rise and Shine
14. God’s Gift
16. Work Out
17. Nothing Lasts Forever
18. Daddy’s Little Girl
19. Who Dat