Cole World: The Sideline Story
The much anticipated debut album of one of hip-hops favorite freshmen has finally reached the shelves. As of September 27th, Cole World: The Sideline Story is in stores and the fans that have supported for a few years now are proud to have watched the maturation. With likely the highest expectation for a recent debut album, the only question remaining was, “was it worth the wait?” The short answer is yes, Cole managed to produce (literally) a really solid album. The pure emotion that he infused into the album comes out in many of the songs. Yet, Cole still managed to balance in a few “I’m better than you” tracks on the album.
Possibly one of Cole’s most impressive complete songs to date is #3, “Cant Get Enough” featuring Trey Songz. The sample comes from “Paulette” by Balla et ses Balladins and it is an absolute banger! This one is sure to be in heavy rotation at radio stations nationally. Both of the title tracks are cuts that I couldn’t imagine many hip-hop enthusiasts not appreciating. On “Sideline Story” Cole tells of some of his experiences since moving to NYC from Fayettenam and gaining notoriety in the rap game. Two tracks later he has a little more fun and speeds up the tempo a bit on “Cole World”.
One of biggest question marks was which track JAY-Z would be on. “Mr. Nice Watch” is positioned perfectly on the album. Cole’s verse is aiiight but Hov overpowers the track with his WTT “super rich” bars. Undoubtedly, the other legend featured on the album is Missy Elliott on “Nobody’s Perfect”. When I say this track is nearly flawless, I mean it! This is the type of track that people still buy albums for. We hadn’t heard Missy in a long while and she laced Cole with a dope hook.
Now for the REAL RAP section of the album. Tracks 10-14 is the part of the CD where many will struggle deciding which track is their favorite. “Lost Ones” is a song that many will empathize with telling the story of a young couple and their struggles after an unplanned pregnancy. Honestly, even if you haven’t personally gone through it you will relate to this track. “Rise and Shine” opens with vintage audio of Hov prophesying (Pun intended for the conspiracy theorists) that he would find the next young star and sign him to his label. Let’s just say when the beat drops Young Simba affirms his bosses decision to give him a chance to shine. Then you are forced to catch your breath fast because he comes right back spitting crazy lines on the next track “God’s Gift”.
As with most debuts there are always a few things that as a fan you might wish were different. If Cole World has any drawbacks it is the presence of a few mixtape tracks on the album which might not please old fans; however, I’m sure new fans will appreciate those as well. I must mention that the album is nearly entirely self-produced and unless I’m mistaken that hasn’t been done successfully on a debut since Kanye West himself. Sonically I think the album could’ve benefited from having a few other savvy producers on it but obviously Cole wanted to prove that he was capable. See Finally Famous Formula
Overall Cole World is one of the best debuts in a long while. The album can be played straight through due to the masterful sequence which is a product of Cole, Mr. Carter, and Mark Pitts. It is truly fresh & honest Hip-Hop. Cole has built a solid fan base that I’m positive will support the album but I’m more interested to see how the rest of the music world responds. For now J. Cole has his foot in the door. Cole World.