Thursday, 13 June 2013

Born Sinner


jcolemusic.com ©


Villuminati
Fire start to the album with Cole setting the tone and content of the album from the word go and spitting raw bars. What makes Cole so real is that he recognises the power of the music industry that only those involved - I’m guessing – can understand. A song with juxtaposing verses and some dope production: “Sometimes I brag like Hov. Sometimes I’m real like Pac. Sometimes I focus on the flow to show the skills I got. Sometimes I focus on the dough look at these bills I got”. 9/10
Land of the Snakes
Cole is acknowledging the difference in his life before and after he made it as a rapper. By the end, “This the shit I used to roll down Lewis Street with” becomes very lifeless and that last verse about his encounter with a girl he smashed at uni is Cole at his self-reflective best. He talks about how guilty he feels not just for smashing that girl but also for being enticed by the commercial, materialistic aspect of the music world. Reference to Lost Ones is very relevant and understandable.  8/10
Power Trip [Feat. Miguel]
Cole and Miguel are a magical duo and they proved that with All I Want Is You. First single on his album and it’s no Work Out style track which we can be thankful for. Cole tells a story about his obsession with a girl and the effect she has on him. Cole said this was a sequel to Dreams, in which case he probably shouldn’t have directly mentioned the prequel at all but we can see the link. Not as intense as Dreams but equally as advanced lyrically. In an ideal world, Miguel would have featured on Dreams and that way, the Power Trip video would make a lot more sense; still though, an unconventional single and typically good storytelling by Cole. 8/10
Mo Money [Interlude]
Another show of Cole’s real and raw nature as a rappe. This is what makes him stand out. The more you earn, the more you want to earn even more. This is a fitting interlude and the repeated use of the phrase ‘Mo money…’ is clever. 7/10
Trouble
We all know that Cole does his very best to not only advise the women out there but to understand the female perspective; identified in Lost Ones and Daddy’s Little Girl. The theme of this song is about his lack of commitment and his stereotype of these “cool bitches” whose “mans don’t know” about what they get up to. I’m personally tired of the female perspective and I think he should have just stopped at Lost Ones which is the ultimate song. However, it says a lot that I’m getting tired of such an underused theme in hip-hop and the song has a sick ending with the child asking his mother “did you fuck J. Cole?”… 7/10
Runaway
This song got to me man and I’m sure there are a lot of guys out there who can relate. I was hoping for a new song about Cole’s guilt towards a girl he loves after hearing them lines on Last Call “I know my girl be prayin lord just keep his pants zipped up…at least give the nigga common sense to wrap his dick up”. The song is a combination of Cole's need for a stable social image, his love and guilt towards his girlfriend and his Yeezy-like view on society today.  Cole is digging deep here and expressing huge levels of guilt through his music as he raps “How the fuck did my life become a damn love song?” The production on this track compliments the way Cole sings the chorus pretty well. 8/10
She Knows [Amber. Coffman]
Some dark and menacing piano production with Cole making clever references to an “apple pie”. A comparison to Adam and Eve (props to Rap Genius). This tracks got a generic chorus but some decent verses. His links between music and sex are genius.  8/10
Rich Niggaz
Real, raw and something we all feel; he begins by identifying a couple of rich guys and wonders what type of shit they’ve had to do to become rich. Convinced that they either have had to sell themselves (“how much for your soul, and uh…) or that they’ve inherited the money from Daddy. Then he goes on to speak about how worried he is that he may get lured by this world, this lifestyle, this money. It all makes so much sense that he’s released this album via stream and I think deep down he’s making deep references to how he almost sold himself in first album on some of those songs like Work Out, Mr Nice Watch, Can’t Get Enough (all of which I liked, believe it or not).  8/10
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Forbidden Fruit [Feat. Kendrick Lamar]
Possible continuation to She Knows or at least very similar with regards to some contents; the forbidden fruit metaphor extends far and the song itself is a sick collaboration. Simplistic production with a few pulls of the guitar strings and Kendrick’s dark voice assisting the chorus. After a while, you’ll love this song cos that happened with me and it’ll happen with you. Kendrick and Cole are the two killing the game for real. Cole is a lot more relaxed on this track compared to the last few songs. Would have liked a Kendrick verse though… 9/10
Chaining Day
Friday Night Lights this reminded me of. This whole album is basically him regretting what he has become and I guess, as a result, hoping it’ll never happen again. Cole cleverly sings “This is the last time, I swear this is the last time, I know I said that shit the last time” and it reminds you of when a little boy tells his parents he’ll never get into a fight again. As soon as this song finishes, we hear “Ok I lied” and go on to the next track which shows the cyclic nature of the lifestyle J Cole lives where commits a bad deed, repents and says he’ll  change and then…does it again. Decent song. 7/10
Ain’t That Some Shit [Interlude]
This is Cole on some Who Dat and Cole World shit, man. Roll the windows down and drive your Vauxhall Corsa breaking all speed limits with this song playing; no, don’t do that. I’m feeling the hook on this track and both verses flow smoothly. Plus, the production is crazy. Cole shouldn’t feel like he can’t make these kind of songs cos truth is, he’s good at them. Disappointed not to see some more light hearted tracks on the album like this one but I guess he’s got a point to prove to those who thought he took his foot off the pedal with Sideline Story. 8/10
Crooked Smile [Feat. TLC]
I like TLC’s contribution in this song and Cole hits the right themes again on this track. The second verse is beautifully written; identifying the self-damaging aspect that most women have when they over analyse how they look and why they look the way look. Same with the first verse where he feels for girls “killing themselves to find a man that’ll kill” for them. I know I said I didn’t want to see much female perspective stuff but this song is necessary as it identifies the psychological aspect of the female perspective whereas Trouble is speaking about girls who become sluts and shit. 8/10
Let Nas Down
Wow. This is that song! The best track on the album comes with Cole rapping about how he heard that Nas is disappointed with his first album and presumably Work Out or Can’t Get Enough singles. This could possibly be reason for the themes on this album, a moment that woke him up; from being dubbed as the new ‘Nas’, to being told that he’s making the wrong type of music from Nas himself. It must have been peak for him if that did happen and this song is just so real and sad from Cole’s perspective. 10/10
Born Sinner [Feat. @Fauntleroy]
“You knew me before the fame, don’t lose me the more that I change” is the line to pretty much sum up this album. Cole’s looking at his life before he got big and after; acknowledging that he’s changed as an artist and as a person. The religious references in this song and throughout the whole album are relevant and metaphorical. The verses are deep, personal and raw and they're complimented with an appropriate chorus. Album goes out on a high. 8/10



So basically: J. Cole’s made a banging second album where he’s repenting for becoming materialistic, commercial and attracted by the lifestyle of being a star. He’s gone back to raw, real bars where he recognises his mistakes and understands what he needs to do; Cole acknowledges the sacrifices he has to make but admits that it’s hard. I’d have liked to see a song like Can’t Get Enough or Lights Please, maybe even something like Cole World but I guess that’s what he doesn’t wanna be doing. It’s now down to see what Cole releases next to determine the value of Born Sinner’s long term content. 8/10! 

My theatrical version of Stan

My theatrical version of Stan