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The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

J. Cole needs to stop bragging

Look at J. Cole.

What’s he so sad about? On Tuesday, Sept. 27 he released his debut studio album, “Cole World: The Sideline Story,” after working on it for over two years.

My question is, why does he look so sad on the cover? I mean, he doesn’t need to look like Rick Ross but he should still cheer up. His album’s pretty good.

Cole’s production work, which is on all but three of the album’s 16 tracks, is the album’s biggest strength. His beats run from typical radio fare to more daring endeavors.

One of the more audacious productions on the album is “Mr. Nice Watch” which has a nice electro-house feel to it. “God’s Gift” is also reminiscent of an early Kanye West production and would sound out of place on the radio today.

The album’s other major strength is in Cole’s emotionally bare, down-to-earth persona, suggested by his pose on the cover.

The album’s stand-out track, “Lost Ones” is a great example of his character. In the song, Cole relates both sides of a couple’s argument over having an abortion; in the chorus, he states, “I cry sometimes” regarding the male counterpart’s decision.

The Achilles’ heel of the album is that when he deviates from his typical style to spend entire songs bragging, the overall feel is lost.

While boasting is an expected aspect of major label rap music that one has to accept, it feels out of whack with Cole’s character when he does a lot of it in a song.

In “Cole World” when Cole declares, among many other things, that he “got a hundred fifty bitches in the club staring,” it feels like walking in on Mr. Rogers playing “Call of Duty.”

Contrastingly, what differentiates Cole from the rap pack is that he seldom brags about how much money or how many cars he has; he spends a lot of time discussing his sexual prowess. Not to mention that his cocky songs appear mostly within the first half of the album, which means that it gets better as it progresses.

Another unfortunate thing about the swaggering is that he is prevented from coming across as someone like Drake, who is far more introspective in his lyrics, so he ends up pigeon-holing himself within the realm of the shallow.

The largest difference is that Drake’s music is about the trouble of being Drake while Cole’s music can, on occasion, delve into the formidable trouble of being an average college student.

As a rapper, Cole is much like a sideline player; he’s quite talented, but could use some improvement. His delivery is top-notch but, to me, his lyrics rely too much on simile and aren’t exceptionally memorable. They’re just pleasantly above-average.

However, I agree with Cole when he says that “if you make a list of the greatest…am I on it? Maybe not yet, but bitch I got the clock set.”

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About the Contributor
John Kesler
John Kesler, Opinion editor
Opinion editor, spring 2012. Staff member, fall 2011.

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J. Cole needs to stop bragging