"Born Sinner" Review
By Luis Cuevas
Jun 19, 2013 - 2:23:56 PM

HOLLYWOOD—J. Cole released his second album “Born Sinner” On Tuesday going up against Kanye West and Mac Miller. J. Cole’s album is the most soulful, a dark album in which he showcases his progression and development as a musician.

Kanye West & J. Cole


Cole’s second effort shows a complexity and realness about his celebrity status. He continues to walk and live a lifestyle that took him some getting used to. Coming from his humble roots in North Carolina, with this album he expresses himself more freely artistically. “Born Sinner” starts off with “Villuminati,” a play on word’s combining his hometown of  Fayetteville with the Illuminati the oh-so mysterious cult. He kicks off the album with a promise that “It’s Way Darker This Time” featuring a Notorious B.I.G. sample rapping about his climb to fame and how he sometimes brags Like HOV. The song takes a darker tone in which he asks the devil to return him his soul.


The album transcends into the “Kerney Thomas Skit” a pastor who makes money off people’s faiths and is a phony. This than goes into “Land Of The Snakes” in which Cole uses an Outkast beat and raps about his struggles growing up and living in the big city. The album transitions to the first single “Power Trip,” which he says is a relationship with hip-hop, a dark tale of love. This flows into the interlude “Mo Money” as he rhymes every line ending with money, a song about socioeconomic status.


“Trouble” marks a high point for J. Cole. As a producer in the song, he rhymes about the troubles that came, especially with females, this song flows well into “Runaway” a more intimate song talking about his relationship and him trying to runaway from being a grown up. “She Knows” featuring Amber Koffman from the Dirty Projectors caps off three songs in a row and a section in the album in which he raps about his struggles with the temptations of women, even though he has a woman at home. “Rich N****z” also part of this section of the album, has the artist rapping on a slower beat about how much he is disgusted about people who have long been rich.


The “Wheres Jermaine (Skit)” leads us into the final part of the album. “Forbidden Fruit” featuring Kendrick Lamar is primed to be one of the best songs of the album, but Lamar only appears on the hook of a rather slow song that just comes and goes. “Chaining Day” a very good song, which focuses on materials and socioeconomic status, he raps “Don’t take my chains from me I chose this slavery.” “Crooked Smile” featuring TLC is one of the lighter and optimistic songs on the album. On “Let Nas Down,” J. Cole talks about letting down legendary rap artist Nas; how he sacrificed his art for a hit single and how difficult that part of the business was for him. He ends the album on a fascinating note flowing from very dark to optimistic and showcasing his level of improvement. The final track “Born Sinner” is the most intimate song in the album that brings this successful album to a close.

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