With the storm of troubles that J. Cole has had to weather over the course of the last few months (problems with the release schedule of eir mixtapes, being dropped from Jay-Z’s label due to dalliances with Rhianna), I really thought that the Cole World would be a much more uneven album. “Can’t Get Enough” is a great start to the album; it is a track that shows the fire that flows in Cole’s veins perfectly.
There is only one drawback to Cole World: Bad Girl’s Club was not included in any format. There are two solid singles that have made it on here – Can’t Get Enough (with Trey Songz) and Mr. Nice Watch (Jay-Z). Can’t Get Enough is a track that works perfectly on the R&B charts, while the production of Mr. Nice Watch is something that will grab listeners’ attention. Jay-Z steals the track from Cole, but this relationship flips on tracks with Cash Money’s Drake (“In the Morning”) and Missy Elliott (“Nobody’s Perfect”).
Shying away from the albatross that is skit tracks, Cole World bounces back and forth between rap and R&B. In a period where rap is absolutely saturated with Atlanta rappers, all of which sound the same (Travis Porter, Soulja Boy), J. Cole’s style is something new and fresh. While I would like to hear a slightly more focused effort in the follow-up, there is nothing systematically wrong with the different tracks on Cole World. Make sure to pick Cole World up if you would like to get in on the ground floor – I have no doubt in my mind that J. Cole will be a substantial force in rap music for the next few decades.
Top Tracks: Mr. Nice Watch, Work Out
J. Cole – Cole World: The Sideline Story (CD) / 2011 Roc Nation / 16 Tracks / http://www.jcolemusic.com