For fans only.

Expectation: Following 2 years after the hugely successful 2014 Forest Hills Drive, rapper/producer J Cole returns with his 4th full-length project.

TRACK-BY-TRACK

  • For Whom The Bell Tolls – While I like this opening track, I wish that high-intensity section actually felt intense; the lack of dynamic contrast really undermines a lot of what the track could have been.
  • Immortal – Not bad, but kind of bland. I preferred both the beat and Cole’s flow near the end to the majority of the song.
  • Deja Vu – Cool beat, weak hook.
  • She’s Mine Pt. 1 – At least the instrumental is pretty.
  • Change – The same kind of beat and style of rapping as the rest of the album, but done a bit better.
  • Neighbors – My favorite track on the album, purely because Cole finally does something interesting with his flow (yes, he sounds like he’s trying to be Kendrick, but it sounds good so whatever).
  • Foldin Clothes – The distorted, fuzzy bass line, the funky rhythm guitar, and the backing vocals come together to make what is easily the best instrumental on the album. Cole’s rapping is alright, too.
  • She’s Mine Pt. 2 – Same instrumental, different instantly forgettable lyrics.
  • 4 Your Eyez Only – A lot of this album sounds (understandably) similar to 2014 FHD, but this track especially sounds like it could even have been a cut track from that album.

Overall: Obviously this is a pretty short review, but there just isn’t much to say here. The best way I could put my feelings towards this album would probably be

  1. 2014 Forest Hills Drive
  2. Friday Night Lights
  3. The Warm Up
  4. 4 Your Eyez Only
  5. Born Sinner
  6. The Come Up
  7. Cole World: A Sideline Story

So if you’ve never listened to J Cole, this album isn’t the place to start, and if you have, than this is just another project for him, a step down from his previous release but not the worst thing he’s made. One strength I will attest to about this album is its accessibility: this is a great album for someone who is just getting into hip hop. New listeners who aren’t accustomed to keeping up with stories told in raps will appreciate the directness of his message, as well as his enunciation. Its not as great a gateway album as FHD was, but its pretty good.

Score: 5/10

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