Take a look at this cool review of J. Cole’s “Cole World: The Sideline Story”. this is a great read for anyone who hasn’t been properly introduced to the album and also fans of the album
In a personal reflection of his path to attaining success in good living, rapper J. Cole presents an inspirational and telling tale in his debut studio album, Cole World: The Sideline Story. An indie artist who rose in popularity on college radio after being a student at St. John’s University in New York City, the rapper born Jermaine Lamar Cole introduces himself to new listeners from track one. If any insight is gleaned from the “Intro”, it’s clear Cole’s life has been one of trial and triumph.
The magna cum laude communications grad recalls the humble beginnings of being raised by an African American single mother and his trying upbringing in “A Dollar and a Dream III”, the song being a continuance of similarly named songs on previously released mixtapes. Cole was signed to Roc Nation by hip-hop mogul Jay-Z, who took him on as a protégé following a whirlwind of seemingly intractable incidents, circumstances brilliantly recounted in the spoken “Interlude”.
Featured artists on the record include the aforementioned Jay-Z and Young Money’s Drake, but J. Cole shines in the greater lot of the album on his own. I find it particularly difficult to zero-in on a standout track because, at its entirety, it is a sonically appealing work (one which garnered Cole a Best New Artist nomination in addition to others at last February’s Grammy Awards). Personal highlights include the title tracks “Cole World”, “In the Morning”, and “Breakdown”, the latter an expression of the pain he endured while growing up without his estranged father.
His road is one which, in parts, is unorthodox compared to many rappers; but mostly, this “Sideline Story” is one which both inner-city youth and suburban bourgeois can easily empathize with and comprehend. High praise and great recommendation are in order for J. Cole’s premiere label effort not only because Cole’s story is honest and eloquently interpreted, but because it’s a one that countless other men (like myself) know. The artist’s summing up of his triumphs is pointedly clear: “Look what a nigga made out the shit that I was given.” Enough said.