Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Born Sinner by J Cole

"Born sinner, the opposite of a winner." - The Notorious B.I.G.
The opening line you hear on Born Sinner, and it sets the tone for the rest of the music you're set to hear. J Cole set himself a legacy of great rap albums when he first released, Cole World: The Sideline Story, his freshman album. Since then, he's been featured on many songs, and you can hear the progression in his tone, lyrics, and skills in all, so I was very excited when I heard that he was releasing Born Sinner.

In all honesty, I had no idea how his album was going to compare to his competition that was being released on the same date, Yeezus by Kanye West & Watching Movies with the Sounds Off by Mac Miller. I predicted Ye, Mac, then Cole, but I was far wrong when I heard all three. In the very first song, before he even spits a line, he starts out in the prelude to the actual beat by saying, "It's way darker this time.." which gave me chills down my spine. You can definitely tell a progression in his lyricism from Cole World to Born Sinner. I myself think his interlude, "Ain't That Some Shit" is his best lyrical song on the whole album. I'm not saying that in a bad way either, it's just so hard and straight up. I really wish he would of added a hook and one more verse, but we don't always get what we want. songs 1-13 really stuck out to me with the hard lyrics and a more "hood church life" theme. He often raps about how he went to church, but just couldn't drop his hood life and ways. He even mentions some bible stories (Forbidden Fruit).
The beats on this album are some of the strongest I've heard on any album this whole year. Villuminati is by far my favorite, with Forbidden Fruit in second. Every song just shows progression in his ability to take a hard, strong, faster beat and being able to make it sound like a song you can roll and chill to. Going into the second half of his album, I was getting a little worried when I got to Crooked Smile, my least favorite. He then brought it back with Let Nas Down, which is a heavy beat with a strong bass and trumpet in the background. Beats on this album overall are strong and very impressive.
My overall favorite song on the whole album is Born Sinner, but Let Nas Down was the most interesting to me. Through this song, you can hear his hurt from Nas, who criticized his song 'Work Out' off of his freshman album. The hook to the song goes, "Long live your idols, may they never be your rivals. Pac was like Jesus! Nas wrote the bible. Now what you're bout to hear's a tale of glory and sin, No I.D. my mentor, now let the story begin." He then goes on to tell about how Nas called one of his friends up and told him how much he hated Work Out, which the info was passed on to Cole, who was devastated after hearing such critique from such an idol. The song in itself is like a "sad song", with showing a little light into the situation by telling Nas how much he thinks about him. Now back to Born Sinner. The song in itself is a great way to close out an album like this. He spreads a little light on his life, that he has critiqued through the whole album. In the chorus, he features James Fauntleroy, who I've never heard of before this song, but was the perfect fit for the choir type of sounding lyrics. In the end of the song when the chorus comes in, he even adds a choir in the background. The song is just perfect for a way to just be happy about life. My least favorite was most likely Crooked Smile which featured TLC, who's been away from the game for a while now. The beat is more up beat and happy, which isn't a bad thing, just didn't fit in with the album. It talks about his crooked smile and how it makes him, himself. Just didn't fit into the tone and tempo of his album.
My overall opinion to this album is Grammy worthy. I was very happy to hear this album for the first time. That's what I look for in a great album is the first listen and how it calls out to me and catches my ear. I'm very excited to hear all of Cole's future albums and I expect more stellar LPs. I think he can change the Biggy line to, "Born Sinner, but turning myself into a winner."

Born Sinner on Itunes

-Written by Dalton Thompson

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