Being the first artist signed to Roc Nation AND personally by CEO Jay-Z there were a lot of questions and maybe even doubts on whether or not J. Cole’s first album, entitled Cole World: Sideline Story, will create a buzz when it drops. Talk about pressure? Hmmmz…..well let’s see…sold over 218,000 units the first week, debuted at number one on Billboard’s 200, Billboard’s Rap Albums and Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop charts for two weeks straight. Yea, I’d say it was a pretty enviable start for a rookie coming off the bench.

Cole World has that kind of 90’s hip-hop feel. He produced most of the album so this MC can bank some extra dividends upon the albums increasing success. Cole opens the album by telling the intro to the story of how he got signed to the Roc. Holding true to the title by keeping it a, “Sideline Story”, he wastes no time getting into the next track, “Dollar and a Dream III” which is produced by himself, The University, Canei Finch and Ron Gilmore. Included on the album are the previously released songs “Lights Please,” ”Who Dat?!” and “In The Morning” featuring Drake and produced by L&X Music. I’m glad it was included on the CD (& iTunes bonus tracks) because aside from the song being fiyah, it will reach broader audiences to get the listens it so much deserves.

J. Cole has a club banging track by Brian Kidd and featuring Trey Songz on the hook, “Can’t Get Enough” which includes a sample of “Paulette” from Balla et ses Balladins. This has a straight up I gotta get that joint and has an island feel as he spits

“Never fuss or fight, on the grind tryna find this let-tuce/ I love it when you give me h**d, I hate it when you give me headaches!” You can’t get mad at Cole still holding true to the south with “So what I look like scurred?/Them n***as over there look like nerds/Never mind that, girl, let’s make a track I’ll beat the p***y up, that’s the hook right thurr!/That’s the hook, right there!”

And he keeps the party going with self-produced “Mr. Nice Watch” featuring his employer Jay-Z. Cole goes in with verse like “Young black and gifted, I rap like it’s Christmas eve/Coach wouldn’t let him off the bench, no wonder why I didn’t quit the team/But, I’m cut from a different sleeve/Cole World so the wrist’ll freeze/Hurry up with your pictures please/I gotta make history.” Not letting you cats off the hook Jay spits “Y’all n****s betta not call the law get no blood on my Audemar/Meanin’ ya’ll better not waste my time when y’all ready I’ll take you all to war/Meanwhile I’m just chopping off doors put the front on the back cause I’m back and forth/Put the front on the back of the ‘bach like a boss so I’m frontin’ on n****s when I’m backing off.”

Cole surprisingly offers the whole picture a couple in an unexpected pregnancy from both the male and female point of view on “Lost Ones.” In what is rare for an MC, J. Cole shows the emotional side of a young father to be expressing the pressure he feels bringing a child into the world when he hasn’t gotten his self together to financially take care of the child. Cole responds from the females p.o.v.

“i just do this by my mutha****in’ self/ see, my mama raised me with no mutha****in’ help/ from a man/but i still don’t understand/how you could say that/did you forget all those conversations that we had way back/about your father? and you told me that you hate that n***a/talking about he a coward/ and you so happy that you ain’t that n***a,
cause he left your mama when she had you and he ain’t s**t/now here you go doing the
same s**t… ain’t s**t n***a!”

The No I.D. produced track “Never Told” touches on how as child Cole found out his father was unfaithful to his mother and convinced him that if you want to be a man, you don’t run and tell mommy everything.

Missy Elliott makes an appearance on a smooth banger called “Nobody’s Perfect.” With an opening of Jay-Z from the movie Backstage talking about how he’s going to sign that next MC because he don’t want no problems, J. Cole truly shines on “Rise and Shine”. No question the kid spits on “God’s Gift” and in “Breakdown” he verbalizes his feelings to his biological father for abandoning him as a kid but somehow still has love for him. In the “Interlude” Cole explains how he got news that Jay-Z was going to sign him and not even 10 seconds later he gets pulled over by 5-0 for driving with a suspended license but was thinking this would be the easiest night in the box he could ever do. So that night was the police station but that morning was helloooooooooo Roc Nation. J. Cole was an undrafted free agent that worked his way off the practice squad and it looks like he has no plans on giving up his starting spot on Team Roc.

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