At what point do you know that your talents are unmeasurable and you want to make a living from it? Then you finally get a shot, but because of the influences of past hip hop acts, and the man that you think you are, you start to believe this thought is impure. But it’s justified because you’ve seen it work for those you strive to be, and plus, you deserve it. Most of all you just want respect. Most of all you want success. Most of all you want to get your momma out of the hood and to make one woman feel special.
Is this a sin to have this feeling?
J.Cole’s latest album, Born Sinner, to be released on June 18, embodies that scenario. It’s a tale of an emerging career and all the usual bumps and roads that comes with it. From wanting that respect, to new money but craving more, relationship pitfalls, and false justifications of morality, Cole’s album paints the story of what the title is, a born sinner- trying to make the right choices knowing that mistakes happen. The album possesses tales of typical behaviors of the industry, but still has that viewpoint that speaks his peers. We can see how its relatable. The sophomore slump is avoided as all important parts- beats, rhyme styles, progressive sounds, and general growth- are checked off.
The first thing you hear after the strings sample from R.Kelly’s “I Wish” on the opening track “Villuminati,” is Cole saying “this one’s a little darker,” and it truly feels that way. The intro sets the tone, as it’s agressive, sometimes spiteful, and includes a choir, which is what you’d expect. Once again, even though over for a while, Cole dips into his college past with lyrics pertaining to past hookups and regrets on “Land of the Snakes.” His need for success and realizing he has access, but not yet all the tools for fulfillment is thoroughly exercised on “Mo Money” and the standout “Rich Niggaz” which is arguably the most relatable track in this writer’s opinion. There aren’t any rap features on this album, which could’ve been useful for his debut, and probably would’ve proved beneficial in the long run.
Fans of J.Cole will appreciate this album, lyrically, and from a a fan’s perspective, as all things seemed to work right. From pushing out his Truly Yours EP series (the actual release comes with Truly Yours 3), to a great storytelling website that carries the album name Bornsinner.com, and a unique listening session that put off the industry crowd, and gave access to the people who want it more, the fans, the process worked.
J.Cole is poised for more success, and with Born Sinner, more hope is raised that he will reach, and become successful as rap’s upper echelon.