J. Cole’s ‘Born Sinner:’ Does It Live Up to the Hype?
Now I’m not saying that I am happy about it, but I’m definitely excited to finally hear what I’ve been so impatiently waiting for since its November announcement.
If you have been rocking with J.Cole since 2007’s The Come Up like I have, the only thing you can do is appreciate this new work of art.
The emcee’s clever lines and transitions between songs give the listeners what they want: an album that flows seamlessly from one song to the next and sticks firmly within the context of its primary theme.
First things first: Production
If you recall his 2011 debut The Sideline Story, J. Cole mentioned that he produced the entire album, but on his next album he would love to use other producers such as Kanye, Swizz Beats, The Neptunes, and etc.
However I’m not surprised or disappointed that he actually went on to produce every song on Born Sinner, with the exceptions of “Crooked Smile,” co-produced by Elite and “Let Nas Down,” co-produced by No I.D.
Listen: J. Cole – “Let Nas Down”
Overall the production of the album is great, though I’d love to one day hear him throw a few bars on a DJ Premiere, Mannie Fresh, or Just Blaze track… wishful thinking.
Samples used on Born Sinner include Notorious B.I.G.‘s “Juicy” for the smooth outro “Born Sinner,” and Outkast’s “Da Art of Storytellin’(Part 1)” on “Land of Snakes.”
The continuous use of religious metaphors backed by live choirs and televised church programs help pull this album’s theme together.
But Cole does find time to throw a few shots, specifically at Trinidad James‘ style of rap on “Villuminati” saying, “My pops was club-hopping back when clubbing Rick James was out and all I get is Trinidad James.”
He also takes on the flow of “All Gold Everything” a few times, though not necessarily disrespectfully, but we know how things are easily turned into “beefs.”
Underneath the struggle between temptation and atonement, there’s an overall message on Born Sinner that simply blares, “I’m still here.”
Undoubtedly living up to rather high expectations, true fans of the artist will find that this set, which may one day be considered a classic, is worth every dime.
Stream the entire album below and judge for yourself and pre-order on iTunes.