ALBUM REVIEW: J Cole – Cole World: The Sideline Story

Stream on Spotify: J Cole – Cole World: The Sideline Story

Predicting J Cole’s debut album Cole World: The Sideline Story was going to be stately was not beyond one’s wildest dreams. Cole was all but fated to be great by dint of his doughty tales of which many relate, and Cole World: The Sideline Story is no aberration.

In the main, production on an album is imputed to producers, but then the Roc Nation artist is recherché. Cole produces a dozen of the tracks on the recording, and he is on a par with Eminem when it comes to producing records apposite to their modus operandi. Cole’s “Nobody’s Perfect” featuring Missy Elliot is the perfect case in point. The song is set in motion with a morsel of gimcrack production that encapsulates the track’s abstraction.

Even so, the comparisons do not peter out there. Scores of people compare Em to Tyler, The Creator owing to eldritch lyrics both have rapped, but the similarities cease there. Cole is more analogous to Em on the strength of being backed by a hip-hop icon and vouchsafing their life in their music without a soupcon of writ large foreboding.

“If you know my momma, you know me… And, I know I ain’t been calling, but I’m thinking about you and all the s— that you’ve been through. My girl and then my brother too,” the North Carolina native voiced on “Dollar and a Dream III.”


Before anything else, how many rappers compare themselves to their mom and also avow the fact that they have a girl (not a wife or babymother) in a debut album? There are scarcely any, if any, which makes a lot of Cole’s bars, on the album, meritorious and remind one of Eminem’s confidence to not have any trepidation when it came to sharing personal facets of his life in verses.

All the same, “Dollar and a Dream III” is not the most intimate track. In “Lost Ones,” Cole divulges his views on abortion. “Never Told” illustrates how as a young male he was instructed by his father to not discuss cheating in order to come of age. And, then there’s “Breakdown,” which discloses his feelings towards his father and his mother’s drug addiction.

The sangfroid to include “Lights Please” and “In the Morning” featuring Drake ought to also be discerned. Putting two mixtape tracks on the album took some grit seeing as longtime fans might have gotten or are upset since they were bent on the album being composed of only new tracks.

If there has ever been a debut, hip-hop album as mesmerizingly revealing as Cole’s, I missed it. Without question, listeners that hear the entire album with heed will end up hearing good music and learning his story. Cole has been a thin on the ground rapper since he was underground, and, with Cole World: The Sideline Story, he did what was expected of him…exceed.