44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
Cole Under Preasure Makes Diamonds,
This review is from: Cole World: The Sideline Story (Audio CD)
Its not so easy to find quality hip hop these days that has made it to mainstream success, but by some miracle, J. Cole has been able to breach that barrier and make the transition from mixtape rapper to mainstream artist. The Dollar and a Dream kid has been on his grind, and it looks like its about to pay off with Cole World: The Sideline Story.
There are three major reasons to like J. Cole: Substance, lyrical versitility, and production. Cole goes against the grain of a majority of rappers coming out the south and strives for lyrical dominance in the game. That being said, this CD (as well as any other project he's put out) is heavy with material that is a far cry from the usual Blingidly-bling-bling bullcrap and materialistic infatuation that saturates this genre. Simply put, the man has something to say, and its worth listening to. Also, in the same fashion as Kanye West, J. Cole produces much of his own music, and is responsible for 15 of the total tracks on the CD.
As a whole, this is a very personal album, in the sense that J. Cole is not affraid to expose himself and tell his story as it really is. Much of his appeal comes from his songs being so down to earth and easy to relate to. You dont need rose tinted platinum framed shades to visualize the things he talks about. "Dollar And A Dream III," the opening track, is truly an epic song, painting a vivid mural on the walls of your mind of the struggles of being broke with little else but a dream and some hope. Cole continues to expose his soul to the world with "Breakdown" where he talks about his father's lack of presence in his life, his mother's drug addiction, and a 3rd person perspective of a man in jail with a woman at home who is struggling to stay faithful. Also worthy of note is the stand out track "Lost Ones" where Cole portrays a young couple talking about abortion, playing both roles in his rhymes and showing both sides of the argument in a gritty, true to life fashion truely strikes a cord with you, especially if you have been in that situation (this song implies that he has before). And with "Daddy's Little Girl" he recounts the exploits of a young woman with daddy issues, abtly reffering to her as "This is Sade mixed with some Shawty Lo/Hey Jezabelle why you up in everybody fo/you lost and looking for a savior, I aint Mario."
Although there is an abundance of deep material to enjoy, Cole isn't serious all the time. He still shows love to the ladies, and has no trouble expressing it. Tracks like "Cant Get Enough" and "Work Out," while kind of plain and uninspired, are still lyrically potent and are fun once they grow on you a bit. But songs like "Lights Please" where Cole talks about trying to put substance in his relationship with a girl, but he always ends up getting lost in the sexual aspect of it, tend to keep things down to earth. And "In The Morning feat. Drake" is a well done, very listenable track about getting some at the start of the day.
Although not every song on here is a highlight, there are still many good songs. Tracks like "Never Told" "God's Gift", "Rise and Shine", the Missy Elliot assisted "Nobody's Perfect", "Nothing Lasts Forever" only tip the iceburg. J. Cole manages to find himself a nice balance of story telling, reflecting on serious topics, showing off for the ladies, and braggadocios rapping to make his debut work well.
However, although Cole World: The Sideline Story is a great piece of work, it isn't without its flaws. Specifically, "Mr. Nice Watch feat. Jay-Z" and Who Dat". In the weeks leading up to the release, "Mr. Nice Watch" got so much hype built around it due to a pending verse from Jay-Z, which came at the last minute. With all the build up, you would have expected gold to flow from the speakers, but both artists come up short and underperformed on this bad attempt at a club hit. And "Who Dat" was ok, but I was disappointed to see it on the album, even as a bonus track. Also, while I admire J. Cole being versatile enough to both rap and produce, his production skills are not quite where they could be on this CD. He has a lot of potential, but his beats can be pretty basic and at times, boring. Personally, I like the beats he makes, but I know that's not gonna fly with the masses in the long run.
Overall, Cole World: The Sideline Story is a solid piece of work; a product of sweat, tears and relentless grind that has paid off. J. Cole is truly an underdog in the rap game but I enjoy watching his progress to the top. Definitely a solid 5/5.
SN: Because Amazon didn't load the track list for some reason, here it is:
Dollar And A Dream
Cant Get Enough feat. Trey Songz
Mr. Nice Watch
In The Morning
Nobody's Perfect feat. Missy Elliot
Rise And Shine
Nothing Lasts Forever
Daddy's Little Girl
Who Dat (Bonus)
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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 27, 2011 6:38:11 AM PDT
Do U have the cd version oz so far I thought it has 16 song?
Posted on Sep 27, 2011 5:04:17 PM PDT
is this the clean version or the explicit one because the sample shows clean -__-
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 27, 2011 7:27:12 PM PDT
this is the explicit version
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 29, 2011 8:40:50 AM PDT
@ Zsolt, I actually listened to a promo copy i got from a connect a few days before it came out, and it had the three extra songs. I have the actual CD now and I see it only has 16 songs on it, which sucks. I think that the extra songs are either iTunes exclusives or they were originally on the track list and got tacken off for some reason before they pressed the CD. I strongly suggest you try and find the extra tracks, its worth it
Posted on Oct 7, 2011 3:11:22 AM PDT
dc erv says:
imma j.cole fan, but........ this cd is not the hot......his mixtape tracks over the past 18months is alot better than this 16 track output......
Posted on Oct 26, 2011 7:17:24 AM PDT
P. Binh says:
Good review, but was Mr. Nice Watch an attempt at a club track? I didn't think so when I heard it.
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 27, 2011 7:47:33 PM PDT
Hey man I agree with you that his mixtapes were better than this album was. In fact, I'm pretty sure Friday Night Lights was initially going to be his debut album but ended up running into a lot of issues with the label or something. But all things considered, I thought it was still worth the ten bucks I payed for it
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 27, 2011 7:49:05 PM PDT
@ P. Binh
Thanks, much appriciated. I'm actually not sure if that was an attempt at a club hit, but it sounded like one to me. Dont be suprised if its the next single after "Nobody's Perfect"
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