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J. Cole, Cole World: The Sideline Story

“Cole World, World Tour with no album,” J. Cole tweeted earlier this month.

Such mobility should be a blessing. Not always, though.

Yes, in all of the obvious ways, what J. Cole has been achieving in the more than two years since he signed with Roc Nation and dropped his acclaimed mixtape, The Warm Up, certainly is amazing: rocking stages domestically and abroad; gaining legions of fans and feeding them free, purchase-quality music; shining as a featured guest next to the likes of Jay-Z, Kanye West, Talib Kweli and more; and simply having the ability to make a living doing what you love.

But it’s these same factors that have positioned J. Cole’s major label debut, Cole World: The Sideline Story, in an uphill battle against expectations.

Thanks to a number of factors (most glaringly, the Internet, and all it has spawned) the current moment of hip-hop music consumption is unparalleled—a fact particularly relevant to artists’ debut albums. Sure, everyone from N.W.A. to Nas to Kanye West created anticipation for their soon-to-be-classic debuts, but the blanket of expectations now flaps more expansively for those anointed as “next” by excited fans and critics, on the heels of album-esque mixtapes, the national tours that they trigger, and rampant release date delays.

The last two tapes that the Fayetteville, North Carolina native has dropped (The Warm Up and Friday Night Lights) have been deemed great by some and even classic by others. And this, in many ways—the heightened, if ridiculous, expectations—prove the leading detriment to a very strong debut album from J. Cole. Cole World: The Sideline Story is possibly better than either of the two lauded mixtapes for which he’s become known. Yet, it was looked upon to be much more—that Cole would take a leap, not a step—and it’s not quite that.

Preconceptions aside, the album is able to put a check mark in each of the boxes next to the laundry list of abilities that have thrust Cole into a discussion as a possible torch-bearer for a generation.

There’s the piano-backed “Intro,” presenting the same kind of solemn yet inspiring opening with which he’s begun his last two projects. “Dollar and a Dream III” is vintage Cole, spitting for nearly five minutes about highs and lows, dreams and reality. He does so over a looming, slow-building beat that has a few distinct sections, each sounding developed but derived from the previous one. Here, on the first full track, we get a taste of Cole’s growth as a producer that continues to reveal itself over the 16-track project’s entirety.

The lyrical workouts continue on cuts like “God’s Gift” and “Rise and Shine,” where, on the latter, he spits, “The ones y’all thought would save the day can’t even tie my boots/The ones y’all thought could hang with me can’t even tie my noose.”

But it’s not all boasts from the 26-year-old. With songs like “Breakdown,” a deeply personal recounting of his staggered relationship with his father and his mother’s battle with drugs; “Lost Ones,” an impassioned and touching tale from multiple perspectives of the considerations when contemplating an abortion; or “Nobody’s Perfect,” featuring an outstanding hook from Missy Elliott, we find Cole able to straddle the line between crafting a contagious head-nodder and a meaningful examination of human relationships, asserting his ability to speak to and for so many.

“Mr. Nice Watch” is an erratic, dub-step influenced built-up collaboration with Jay-Z, where Hov get’s the better of his protégé (something he was unable or uninterested in doing on their Blueprint 3 joint “Star Is Born”). Current single “Can’t Get Enough,” featuring Trey Songz is more accessible than Cole’s shown to be in the past and is able to remain stellar. His other single, the bonus track “Work Out,” lacks this.

Though previously released “Lights Please” (TWU) and the Drake-assisted “In The Morning” (FNL) remain excellent (“Lights Please” proves particularly timeless), their (possibly label-obliged) inclusion on the album seems a bit curious, specifically to earlier Cole fans.

Cole’s DIY methods—producing the bulk of the album, enlisting limited guests—are admirable if, at times, restrictive. His beat-making has evolved, and the instrumentation displays that growth, but his sound will be allowed to further progress if he teams with others in the future. Same for his hooks, which are often disproportionately small when compared to the vigor of his verses.

Was the height of the bar set for J. Cole unjust?

No. On the contrary, it’s complimentary and deserved. It wouldn’t be placed there if it weren’t something he was capable of reaching. On Cole World: The Sideline Story he taps it a few times, and shows he’s on his way to fully grasping it. —Adam Fleischer

  • T-Mac

    R.E.D. Album was a classic and got L. This is pretty average album and gets XL … Get off Cole’s dick already.

    • JJ rocks

      True that.. RED should have deserved an XL at least.. But this album is dope too

    • Martin

      The R.E.D album is a good album but J Cole has a great album with not many features unlike the game album and for him to produce about 90 % of the album is amazing its a classic album no song is rally skippable

      • Harden

        true that, the features truly were what made R.E.D such a good album

    • fTMAC

      listen dude, GAME tried to jack 3 rappers style on his album (Tyler the creator, big boy, and jeezy) let alone he went with that dumb ass drake song, now the album was good but did NOT deserve XL, considering he didn’t produce 15 of his 18 songs like COLE, and game took 4 years to produce his album and it wasn’t that great. LAX murders RED album. So get off GAMES dick cuz he didn’t deliver like cole

      • brown money

        lol u either hate game or love deepthroating j cole lol
        but i liked both albums
        Game always keeps it real while J. Cole is the best rapper out
        when it comes to the new ones hes holdin shit down

        game j cole n boosie would be sick on a track together

    • asian in a cole world

      how about u get off game’s RED dick and actually listen to some lyrically good music for once.

  • hennesey

    What about the new Spank Rock album XXL?

  • tully

    y’all gave The carter 4 and Sorry for the wait XL. i can no longer take you guys serious

    • domheyToThe

      lmfao i have to agree completely, i saw this got the same rating as Carter 4, and i was like WTF!?!?!?!?! xxl looses all credibility, with that one. i also do not take them seriously anymore. like carter 4? XL? seriously?

      • inkedProdigy

        Tha Carter 4 is great

        • PB

          Carter 4 great? lol the only reason it got in xl in my opinion is cause of tech n9ne’s verse lol I use to be a wayne fan but when u hear him too much on everybody songs and almost 4000 mixtapes (not hating his work ethic) you get tired of his voice and his lyrics become repetitive and predictable.
          Cole world dope though

    • igotacos

      C4 was a pop rap album, it deserved an xl 4 what it was. This deserves an xl too, this is an exampleof a great debut from a semi lyrical rapper, and was pretty damn good. U gotta think about it 4 what its supposdd 2 b

  • Mark

    Cant wait to hear it.

  • kenzo

    damn when da last time u seen a xxl album?

    • jfl11

      Kanye’s “Dark Fantasy” I believe. Could be wrong.

      • steve_g

        yeah you’re right

  • jfl11

    XL, 4/5, 8/10. It’s certainly not a perfect classic, but it’s real good. I love release days though. All the reactionary fans come out proclaiming classic it makes for some good lol’s.

  • ML Wood

    There is nothing profound about…..”The ones y’all thought would save the day can’t even tie my boots/The ones y’all thought could hang with me can’t even tie my noose.” If that’s the line that you highlight, your opinion is garbo.

  • swype-matic

    Just because Cole produced his entire album doesn’t automatically make it a near classic or automatically better than an album that wasn’t entirely self-produced. Quit being somebody’s street team and actually listen to these albums.

  • AreYouKiddingMe

    you’ve got to be joking XXL. you give sorry 4 the wait and tha carter 4 xl’s and you give this album the same thing? This album deserved XL, being that it was good but not classic, but tha carter 4 and sorry 4 the wait were average at best. you need to get off waynes dick and actuallyreview albums properly. And RED album was L at best. The Documentry was great, this one not so much

  • jonny bizness

    The album is heavy but it is missing something.Maybe if Cole never released Fnl and put the stronger tracks like Enchanted,Farewell,Too deep for the intro and See world then it would have been a classic in my eyes.I’m rooting for him tho fans moan about wanting lyricism well here it is.

    • Chris

      ^^^I agree with this.

      I think that some of those deep and dope ass songs from FNL should have been saved for this. Too deep for the intro would have been perfect right after the intro of Sideline right b4 dollar and a dream 3. Enchanted is so dope too. I think if some of those deep tracks would have been on this it woulda been classic. It probably would have made the album “too deep” for people though.

      Overall, Sideline is dope. XL is fine. XXL would make it a classic. It had good balance btwn the deep tracks (back half of the album) and the popular shit (first half). I think the success of TWU and FNL made us expect a whole lot more on this joint so we are quick to rate this joint lower then it deserves.

      I will say this though: Nobody’s Perfect should have a third verse. C’mon Cole lol.

      -@FullCupLover

  • Chong

    Only had 1 full listen so far. Seems good, but albums tend 2 grow on me. Love J. Cole though, and really hope it lives up to expectations. Don’t think it’ll b a classic, like “Illmatic” or “Ready to Die”, but I don’t think that’s the point.
    How hard is it to get an instant classic?
    He is tight lyrically and got a nice swag, but agree it is missing something?
    Maybe he could work on his hooks a little more, kinda like Lupe?
    Also, the Jay collab is v. weak, again, just like Lupe (“Pressure”).
    On a sidenote, anyone copped Phonte or 9th Wonder’s joints today; what are the feelings?

  • Yessir

    JONNY BIXNESS

    You are absolutely right. I was just listening to that Friday Night Lights and I though the same things.

    Those tracks on FNL were great album tracks and could’ve made the album a classic.

    Strong solid album though. Not a classic.

  • jonyo

    every album review has the same posts, “blah blah blah RED album is better than this blah blah fuck xxl blah blah i suck dick”. get off the RED album.

  • Brittany E. fm St.Louis

    OKAY…HOW SHALL I PUT THIS

    LOOOOVE J.COLE’S MUSIC (LYRICISM), ARTICULATE ABILITIES (HE WRITES HIS OWN S**T AND HAS THE ABILITY TO PRODUCE), THE FACT THAT HE STAYS HUMBLE, REMEMBERS WHERE HE COMES FROM, AND SPEAKS FOR THE YOUNG PEOPLE THAT HAD IT HARD GROWING UP, LIKE ME. I TOTALLY RELATE TO HIM AND HE DIDN’T JUST RAP ABOUT MONEY CARS & HOES LIKE MOST OTHER RAPPERS – HE ALWAYS HAS A POINT. BUT FOR SOME REASON, I’M VERY DISAPPOINTED IN THIS ALBUM. DON’T GET ME WRONG, COLE DELIVERS EVERY TIME! IT’S JUST THAT AFTER “THE WARM UP” AND ESPECIALLY AFTER “FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS”, COLE SHOULD’VE WENT WAAAY HARDER THAN THIS ALBUM WENT.

    THERE ARE REALLY NO STAND OUT SONGS ON THIS ALBUM, IN MY OPINION. PLUS, I’VE NOTICED THAT 4 OF THE SONGS ON THIS ALBUM HAVE BEEN OUT BEFORE. COME ON COLE!!! THE MIXTAPES WERE WAAAY BETTER. IT SEEMS LIKE COLE IS STARTING TO RAP ABOUT THE “FAMED LIFE” (MONEY CARS & HOES) RATHER THAN STAYING TRUE TO HIS LYRICISM AND SPITTING THAT S**T THAT MOST OF US IN THE HOOD CAN RELATE TO. I HOPE HE FALLS BACK ON THE WAGON ‘CAUSE HE FELL OFF WITH THIS ONE!!

    NOTE TO ALL ASPIRING RAPPERS : DO NOT SWITCH YOUR RAPPING STYLE UP JUST BECAUSE YOU OFFICIALLY MADE IT!! HOW YOU STARTED RAPPING AT FIRST IS WHAT GOT YOU IN THE SPOT THAT YOU’RE IN!!! << THAT'S WHAT I FEEL J.COLE DID HERE.

    I'D GIVE IT AN "L" 'CAUSE HE STILL HAS LYRICISM EVEN THOUGH HIS S**T AIN'T HALF AS TIGHT AS IT WAS.

    • Mohammed

      Wrong the releatable stuff is still on there. You’re just saying that cuz it’s an album that’s all. If it was vice versa let’s say Friday Night Lights was the album and Cole World was the mixtape you would’ve probably say the same thing. Lost Ones, Sideline Story, Dollar & A Dream 3, Breakdown, Never Told and Lights Please all relateable stuff that regular people can feel and are all STANDOUTS. He ain’t fell off at all. He just balanced it out that’s all. It’s a 9 out of 10 for me.

  • Brittany E fm St.Louis

    and F**K the R.E.D. Album. GAME IS GOOD BUT HE CAN’T EVEN POSSIBLY COMPARE TO J.COLE OR WAYNE.

    • swype-matic

      I can see why people may not like RED, but to say “Game can’t compare to Cole or Wayne” basically made you irrelevant as a poster. Regardless of how people feel about Game in his non-rap life, he’s still better than Cole and definitely better than Wayne by a wide margin. Even when Game is mimicing other rapper’s flows, he’s still better than both of them. Cole is loaded with potential though, but Wayne is just the best mediocre rapper out.

  • ff1one@yahoo.com

    Again, xxl use to be the rawest and realest. U dudes are soft as the source nowadays. Clearly, xl was gonna be the rating. U can predict u guys ratings cause 1 u play it safe and 2 u ain’t gonna mess ur advertisment and money on da side up.

    imo, the album does deserve xl but could get a xxl based on the debut.

    Why? see ur wrong in this…friday night lights (which was prob his album before jayz said nah) was harder than this album.

    If u don’t judge this ablum based on previously released music and expectation and just listen to the album for what it is track by track its a xxl.

    dude spits dat fire dude has the beats dude produced and sang

    More imporantly the lyrics are layered and each song has meaning behind it..content.

    I mean i don’t work for jcole or the magazine but cole in an interview said he fought to include lights please cause it meant so much to him. gotta respect that not look at it as a disapointment.

    as for the R.E.D album game F’d up by dissing and bytch’n so much. Game would be a better mc if he mc’d and left rap alone.

  • ff1one@yahoo.com

    for all the people like myself who agree that Friday Night Lights is harder and better..it is…but u gotta understand that Cole gotta do numbers and this album was for the ladies, ya the ladies. Why?

    ladies buy music. most of the joints on there are for female. Much like fab.

    can’t fault brah

  • Rooting for the Kid

    This shit is solid, not quite a classic but definitely a banger. Dude is hungry, I can’t wait to see his progress. Made my PURCHASE this morning.

  • Rooting for the Kid

    As far as the comment about the album being for the ladies I’m not hearing it, on the album that is. As a lady, :-) I felt FNL down in my soul (lol) “You Got It”, “In the Mornin”, immediately jump out. I would say he’s def aiming for radio play on this one vs. FNL. He’ll get the ladies based on looks alone. Don’t let his ass get swol’.

    • Brittany E fm St.Louis

      AMEN. FINALLY, another female who can relate to and understand J.Cole!! He definately is one of the best and it DOES help that he’s cute lol AMEN SISTA!!!

  • http://www.cdcheck.net/index.html Blake

    Jermaine Lamarr Cole is a 26 year old MC and producer from North Carolina, who performs under the stage name, J. Cole. Like many of the up-and-coming mainstream artists in Hip-Hop, Cole is not a thug, in fact, he graduated magna cum laude at St. John’s University in New York. He sings on tracks, he uses the same flow as Drake and Big Sean, and his lyrical style is the same as every other rookie in the game. Although J. Cole is in many ways similar to his peers, something sets him aside from this generation of MC’s. Something makes his studio debutCole World: The Sideline Story rise above any other debut this year.

    Most importantly, J. Cole’s lyrical content surpasses all the Wiz Khalifas out there who repetitively rap about that same 5 things over-and-over again. The lyrics on Cole’s studio debut are about the trials and tribulations of an aspiring artist and dealing with new found fame and success; a common trait of many auspicious lyricists.

    However, it is Cole’s production ability that provides the unique sound on Cole World: The Sideline Story. Eleven of the fifteen tracks on the album are exclusively produced by J. Cole, which are some of the most interesting and innovative beats since the rise of Kanye West in the early 2000′s. In fact, his production style is similar to that of Kanye’s. Both producers make simple, raw instrumentals that appeal to mainstream music listeners, as well as real Hip-Hop enthusiasts. The production on the album makes Cole sound like a contemporary version of Common or Q-Tip, a refreshing change of sound, compared to the likes of his peers. At this point in Hip-Hop, when most new artists are trying to get on another shitty Lex Lugar track or when you have guys like Wiz Khalifa working with the same dude who produced “Teenage Dream” by Katy Perry; its nice to hear someone like J. Cole, who’s capable of making some real beats.

    The biggest issue with J. Cole is that he is somewhat stuck between a rock and a hard place. Although Cole makes great beats, rhymes well and is all around creative, his persona is way too soft for hard core Hip-Hop’s respect. He of course does the whole interchangeably singing thing in his verses and he’s not afraid to belt out a hook. However, the more degrading aspect is that he simply doesn’t rap with the classic Hip-Hop swagger, he uses the new skinny jeans Drake-style bitch swagger. When he sings the hook “Can I hit it in the morning?” on his track “In The Morning (Feat. Drake)”, he sounds so winey when he says it. Just imagine how much realer it would sound if someone like Ghostface Killah or Biggy were saying it; smoother and more confident, instead of winey and pathetic. The track “Lost Ones” is another great example. Cole takes one of his realest, most creative beats on the album, along with three solid verses; only to ruin the whole track with one of the softest hooks ever made. “and I aint to proud to tell you that I cry sometimes, I cry sometimes about it”, listen to this hook about J. Cole crying, then listen to “Who I Am” by The Diplomats. You will be able to tell how Juelz Santana is real enough to be talking about himself crying, but when Cole does it, he sounds like a 15 year old trying to write his first song. This proves that it’s not J. Cole’s lyrics that are the problem, it’s his persona.

    J. Cole did a lot of things right on Cole World: The Sideline Story, but he’s still got a lot of work to do if he wants to make something classic. He doesn’t need to go out and become a Thug or go to the other extreme and become a record company sellout, his balance makes him who he is. However, he needs to play with that balance in order to live up to his potential.

  • SDK

    YO , J’COLE PRODUCED AND RHYME , LIKE JIGGA’S SAID ” WHAT MORE CAN I SAY ??? ”

    4/5

  • Sahil

    It’s a great album. But the reviews on this site kinda suck. All mainstream rap about nothing rappers gets Xl besides the gay game

  • The REZ

    this album was sold out at fye…

  • http://xxlmag.com thegameloki

    I’m sure J .Cole delivered a Great Album but the Best Of The Year i’ve heard so far was RED …… PEACE

  • http://yahoo ray ray

    Man im bout sick of niggaz actin like j cole the new messiah of hip hop i mean dude straight but he aint doin shit otha niggaz aint already did twice as betta i bet dat new ross album murda cole world real nigga shit

  • Jim

    Game and Cole are my two favorite rappers, I bought both albums and they are both great cds. both rappers suffer from same problem is that they both put out dope mixtapes and expectations are far too high to reach. but both albums are two best albums of the year. And i hate when ppl think game can’t spit. Listen to all his disses he kills rappers

  • fuck all of you

    the game is a fraud and the r.e.d. album was kinda terrible

  • http://immortalmen.tk RUTHLESS

    You know why the RED album is brought up at every review? Its coz unlike the other albums thats come out this year its the one album u can bump and never get tired yet it only got a L. So it just shows how messed up these ratings are. And this Cole album is getting a XL for production even tho they admit how repetetive it is

  • caitlin

    Please. Don’t ever compare Game to J. Cole. J. Cole is better than Game on an off-day. Plus, that nigga’s a crybaby.

    Unlike Game, Cole didn’t need tons of features on his album. Get that shit right.

  • jesterxxl

    Ever since Elliott left the ratings are biased based bullshit like how The Undergods got L for beats, XL for lyrics & L for originality added up to an L but then Hell: The Sequel has the same & fuckin ends up with an XL fuck the wat!

  • Kidnothing1

    Definitely one of THE best hip-hop releases this year, but not classic. Classic songs on there though

  • John

    This album is definitely not a classic. When I think of classic I think of College Dropout, Illmatic, or Reasonable Doubt. Be honest for once and just listen to the music. The overall sound/s on the album is OK to be a classic the only word that should come to mind is INCREDIBLE. Cole is good rapper, with that said I want to start a trending topic “Who is a better artist J.cole or Drake?”(Be honest, please)!!!!!!

  • thoms3

    Best Rap Album I’ve heard all year

    • swype-matic

      You haven’t listened to rap much this year have you? There’s easily 5-8 albums better than this (which doesn’t include WTT or Carter 4 by the way).

  • hater

    “Game and Cole are my two favorite rappers” a white person would say that Jim….

  • hater

    Question? Why coles always so sad… Damn lil nigga life aint that tough.. and stop rapping as the persona of a bitch.

  • hater

    The Game is fckn terrible .. el oh el at these kids today.. The Game? Fck out of here

  • http://serisony.tumblr.com serisony

    I really enjoyed a majority of this album, but I felt like a good portion of the content was catered to women. The production of it is definitely XL if not XXL but I don’t know if I can agree with the rest of the rating.

  • coleworldcoleworldcoleworld

    you cant even compare the red album or carter 4 to cole world. they are both terrible rappers who try to rely on have dope beats which are not even that sick. j cole produced about 3/4 of his own shit. now who do you see doing that
    -sogofuckyourself

  • Quez206

    cole had the best album, like really listen to his lyrics, no other rapper has the depth that cole has, this nigga had a song about pregnancy from the make and female prespective. hes a reality rapper whos mainstream, what other rapper who is really in the game right now in coles lane? who? b honest, i like the games album but every song has a feature almost, and all those songs are the features style of music not the games. lil waynes last 2 was average at best, all he does is go on and on about a whole bunch of nothing. when u listen to j cole you can relate, thugs to kids from the suburb. he aint tryna b something hes not with his image jus an everyday person who can rap his ass off, if u really know hiphop u gotta respect it, i should b doing these reviews lol like seriously

  • Pugz

    This is a great album. Who knows if it will be a classic? Maybe it will be or maybe it won’t, but all I know is I will be listening to this years down the road.

    Standout Tracks:
    1. Lights Please – timeless classic song, got him signed by Jay Z
    2. Sideline Story – Arguably the most well-rounded song on the album. Amazing storytelling.
    3. Lost Ones – One of the deepest tracks on the album. Cole wrote this 4 years ago and has been saving it. The perspective is unlike anything else I’ve heard.
    4. Nobody’s Perfect – Missy destroys the hook, upbeat song about love. Like the beat a lot and its something you can just bump.
    5. Breakdown – The deepest song on the album next to the aforementioned Lost Ones. If you like lyricism, this song is for you. Cole opens up his mind and his heart.

    Skippable Tracks:
    1. Work Out – A poppy sounding song, more for the radio and the clubs.
    2. Mr. Nice Watch – I thought it would grow on me. It doesn’t help that Cole’s lyrics are average. He can do better. Still a song I’ll listen to from time to time to bump in the car.

    Overall: 9/10

  • MEGAMAN

    i think he’s going to surpass wiz khalifa first week album sells, i think wiz did 150k right? cole will either do the same numbers or more…he has a song with Missy Elliot for crying out loud. Im happy for the guy….. #Rocnation

  • gameonlock

    never compare an album to a mixtape. a true review just looks at the piece of work in front of them. xxl needs to get writers that know hip hop.

  • pudgie

    J. Cole and Wayne albums shoulda got at least a XL, its both good music but the albums are goin 2 different directions, and got 2 different feels but still good music.

  • Mjeanious

    He would’ve put the FNL tracks on there if he could but Jay didnt let him release his album until now. He had to put out something and it had to be good so he sacrificed a few songs he was saving for the album. Regardless this is easily one of the top 3 albums this year and i think the more people LISTEN to the lyricism and content of what Cole is delivering, the more they’ll realize how good it is.

  • ske

    dope album. where else are you getting an artist who produces the bulk of his album on his own. minus mr nice watch, i would give it an xxl, as much as a big look a jay feature is, it wasnt necessary. for 2011 in hip hop this is as close to a real hip hop album well get. besides all that 808 crap on the radio, real heads should go out and support to show that this shit can win

  • Mohammed

    This album is better than Friday Night Lights to be honest. That was a great mixtape probably the best tape of 2010 but some songs I had to skip on there. For the album I don’t skip anything. Not saying the album is a classic but I just feel overall it’s better…

  • Keaton Reed

    i totally agree with XXL on its rating on J.Cole’s album. and XL is totally appropriate. i dont think it was a classic but so far one of the best not even rap….one of the best hip-hop albums this year

  • Anthony “Spade” Parrish

    Of course I’ve already listened to the album, and not because I’m from NC, I think the album deserved the rating it got. He did the majority of his own work, and although it lacks in the lyrical dept. at times J. Cole more than makes up for it with his almost genius beat making ability. Ex: “Nobody’s Perfect” ft. Missy Elliot (being able to start off beat then bring it together hasn’t been done in my memory). Good first album.

  • Azhar

    Not a classic like his 1st 2 mixtapes, but good nonetheless, nice work Cole

  • L

    Truth be told ya’ll should understand with no radio time, no real promo only 3 mixtapes and sold 215,000 first week? Now Game brought back west coast all day, but Cole World def. deserves that XL aint only been a week and he’s all over XXL mag. . . J.Cole Big up Dog

  • Thug

    Good to see yall talking about RED, coz that album was amazing. Its true XXL, and many others, dont give Game enough credit….but we are here coz of J.Cole, and Cole World was easily an XL
    (RED Album should have been XL too)

  • blaksta*SA

    sick n tired of drake n his gay songs..i thot he’d develop into sum1 wit good lyrical content bt ths RnB influenced rap shit dat he’s on ryt nw is weak..J Cole’s album is too dope..frm track 1 til the end..hs style reminds me of Nas n Busta..1 flow thruout their careers n dope verses ryt thru..watch out 4 cole coz hz gna b around 4 a while..gta giv recognition wher its due!

  • mybreathsmellslikereefer

    who da fuck wrote this? .. fuck dem but COLEE WORLLDD nigga yeeaa! dis wat i been waitin on all my muthafuckin life

  • RAPCRITICB*TCH

    J COLE’S ALBUM REVIEW WAS PRETTY FAIR.
    GAME’S ALBUM PROBABLY DIDNT DESERVE AN L, BUT CONSIDERING THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF HIS PRIOR ALBUMS IT PROBABLY DID’NT AMOUNT UP TO THE EXPECTATIONS, LIL WAYNE ALBUM DESERVED AN L BUT I GUESS BIRDMAN PAID THE MAG. TO GIVE IT AN XL…AND IS WATCH THE THRONE RATED ON HERE?

  • lacsap

    Listen, J. Cole’s album was good…his rhymes, delivery and punchlines were LEGIT. But this album still can’t shake off the label of being disappointing. It may have something to do with the relatively weak beat selection. Or it could be the fact that at least 3 of the songs are from previous mixtapes. As much as he gets props for taking as much control as possible on this album, he may have tried to do a bit too much. He definitely has Nas-like potential but he needs better beats and to get rid of old songs. Still a good album but it probably truly merits a “L” instead of an “XL”. His next album will either make him or break him, though.

    If you want “XL”-worthy releases, look to the other albums that were released on Sept. 27 (Phonte’s & 9th Wonder’s albums).

  • chiefgreen

    im one of those people with way to high of expectations. he said in this magazine that he needs to tell this story. what the hell was the warm up and friday night lights? he should have moved on. make a concept album or at least not drop two songs that we already heard. 14 songs would be cool too.

  • UndaDogg

    This album may not be considered a “classic” now, but neither was “Reasonable Doubt.” I think like that album, this will be a classic as time goes by. It is definitely an album that was very well put together, with NO fast-forward material (even the songs that were on previous mixtapes I could bump all day.) Definitely better than all the b.s. rap that you hear on the radio all day. I agree with the XL rating, but it is definitely XXL material.

  • Bryan. W

    The word “classic” is way too overused in hip-hop. And who’s to say an album is classic or not? That being said, I feel like this album is “timeless”. This is somethin that I know I’ll still be listening to 4-5 years from now. How many recently dropped albums can you say that about? Do you really think people will be listening to Carter IV years from now? This album will always and forever remain relevant because of the subject matter in it. Look at songs like “Lost Ones”,”Never Told”, “Lights Please”, etc…These songs will never get old because the same issues will still exist. So, all in all, this album is a “timeless” piece of art and deserves an “XXL”.

  • heartherevolution?

    mediocre at best. Still have not heard anything from him that impressed me. I think Nas’, Jayz, Big Pun and their 1st albums then compare that to this guys 1st legit album………Nope!

  • Noel

    Straight up the R.E.D album was incredible but… not now where near COLE’s album, the production, the deliver, the lyrical words, the hooks, and the beats all produced by one FASINATING ARTIST. All props to COLE WORLD, DREAMVILLE!

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  • sarah

    doump touk tak