J.Cole – Born Sinner Album Review

Unknown2nd album from J. Cole, does he deliver?

Villuminati
S.G.: This production has that Timbo bounce feel to it. The lyrics are very tough and his metaphors are witty. The part when he said f#ck Jay-Z had me rollin. I like the vocalist part, it’s got that typical soulful Cole feel to it.

Satchford: Way darker huh? Allow him to reintroduce himself is what this intro shows. It seems that Cole wants another chance to prove himself to his fans and whoever else. We all know his last album was good but didn’t showcase his true potential. Rapping over something that sounds close to what Timbo would produce back in the early 2000s, this one is a cool track that will get some replays. This is the Cole I like to hear.

Kerney Sermon (skit)
S.G.: I like how he used this skit to help communicate his message and theme for the album. It’s not a revelation; it’s more about moments when we reach out for something to make ourselves better.
Satchford: Damn shame

Land of the Snakes
S.G.: The Art of Storytellin sampluer smh! I like how he shares his personal experience with the listener. “this the shit that I used to roll down Louis street with”. The vocalist in the background helped to soften up the song. The metaphor used in the chorus was on point, knowledge bone. If that break don’t sound like some old Timbo the king then I don’t what it sounds like. The strings at the end of the song playing behind the last verse were perfect.

Satchford: I had to check the pod to make sure I didnt see the Aquemini album cover displaying. Let me reminisce right quick….Now Suzy Skrew had a partner named Sashaaaaaaaa Thumpaaaaaaa

outkast

ok, I’m back…

I can see this getting a lot of play for most people. Im more in love with that classic melody. The track is alright at the moment, not really feeling the chorus but you can’t help to nod your onion to it. This might grow on me later….maybe not.

Damn now who more thorough than me?
I paint a picture of my pain for the world to see

Power Trip
S.G.: This my jammy right here. When Miguel first comes in and the tempo slows down a bit that part really helps to bring everything together. I enjoyed the video for the song, it was kind of sadistic but at the same time humbling. I believe that the song fits in with the theme of the album too.

Satchford: I’ve liked the overall vibe of this track since I first heard it but the video brought it home. Its good to see he’s getting inspiration from his old material. The Miguel feature was spot on, his voice fit the track perfectly.

Mo Money (Interlude)
S.G.: I like how he downplays how people gravitate to celebs with all of their money by bringing up the fact that they are ants compared to the Oil company billionaires and such. It’s truly an interlude that you would have to listen to over and over to capture every word because almost every word produces a message that really is in line with societies views today. I can’t help to think that this sounds like something that Jigga would spit.

Satchford: End every bar with money. Mo money. All types of money and at the end you will think this verse was all money. Good quick track. Production is simple and to the point.

Trouble
S.G.: I was on board with thinking that this was going to be a good song until I heard that choir. It’s a bit lackluster in my opinion. I do respect the lyrics of the song, he’s describing an internal battle with himself. I wish someone else had done the production. “I never been the Mario type, no saving hoes”, lmao!

Satchford: Dope sample about those girls out there up to no good with these rappers. Does he have a church choir behind him? The feeling is eerie as hell. This one has been getting more rotation than I expected.

“I’m Kooper I never been the Mario type – no saving hoes”

Runaway
S.G.: “THAT NI99A AINT LIKE THAT”, lmao. I think its songs like this that Cole’s talents really stand out. The production is on point and his message is relatable. He describes the frustrations that we all go thru with our companions throughout our relationships. He does a great job of tapping in on a subject that many can relate to. The part where he describes the situation when the slave master creeps in to have relations with another man’s woman and 9 months later there’s a baby that’s not quite what they are expecting. I want to know what made him write that part, very witty and it was executed perfectly.

Satchford: Hilarious Mike Epps joke at th beginning. In a relationship but want to be elsewhere? This is the struggle that goes through the mind that Cole describes. I dont know if the lyrics can get anymore realer. He even takes it back to slavery times which makes this introspective joint a winner.

My childhood fantasies of wife and home
But it’s a whole lot of actresses I’d like to bone
And despite the rumors you hold out on account of your guilt
She’s has got to spend her nights alone
And she ride or die like Eve and ’em
Make home-cooked meals every evening
And even then, your lowest days
When you’re no longer Superman, at least you know you got Lois Lane
But you…

cole-sinner-1She Knows
S.G.: I’m not sure if I’m feeling this song or not. The part where he talks about Martin Luther King had me rollin but it’s so true. At this point I’m starting to believe that I just purchased the album strictly for the lyrics, this is another lackluster production.

Satchford: Hated the beat for the first time but after hearing the track a few times, he made a good song over it. Those voices in the background made the beat listenable. These lines describe this song the best.

This is Martin Luther King in the club
Getting dubs, with a bad bitch
In his ear sayin’ she down for whatever
In the back of his mind is Coretta

….and she knows.

Rich Niggaz
S.G.: The strings at the beginning of the song are so serenading. I like how his flow speeds up and he manages to pack the verse with so many words that mean so much to him. He sings from a place of resent. There’s a part of me that relates to what he is saying. The lyrics are more humbling than bitter.

Satchford: No this is not classic Juve, whole different vibe. The flow is being pulled over the drums like water skis over waves. This joint reminds me of some old Timbo & Magoo / Missy / Aaliyah ish. Cole shows his hate for certain individuals but admits his real fear of becoming that same person. The background synth during the chorus was a good idea – adds another level of groove.

But listen here I got a bigger fear
Of one day that I become you.
And I become lost and I become heartless
And numb from all the Ménages
Just one bitch don’t feel the same no more
And Henny don’t really kill the pain no more
Now I’m Cobain with a shotgun aimed at my brain
Cause I can’t maintain no more.
Tad bit extreme I know.
Money can’t save your soul.

Where’s Jermaine? (Skit)
S.G.: A perfect fit for the theme of the album. Lol somebody said something about Friday Nights in the background.

Satchford: Choir practice?

Forbidden Fruit
S.G.: Such a pure sampluer! I like how the chorus is a modern day play on Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit. “what you eat won’t make me shit and who you f#ck don’t make me cum”. I was partially disappointed that Kendrick Lamar didn’t have a verse but he did such a great job on the chorus that it really didn’t affect my listening experience. “word to Phife, Q-Tip, Ali, and Jarobi” properly! I’m glad we get to hear from Lil Cole at the end lol.

Satchford: When that Kendrick and Cole album dropping? We need that in our lives. The flow and wordplay up here is the standout for me. The track was good with just Kendrick on the chorus but imagine if he would have had a verse? Whoa. Nice track, nonetheless. Youknowdat!

Chaining Day
S.G.: I wasn’t feeling this song initially; it took a little while to grow on me. I wasn’t feeling it because it was simply too slow for me. His lyrics are what changed my mind. I enjoy how he brings up the subject how some put so much importance into owning a Jesus piece. I think that this is a clever song, he really doesn’t make fun of those type of people and he really doesn’t glorify owning a piece, he stays unbiased.

Satchford: Deep down J.Cole is conscious of everything he does, he’s been rapping alot of these emotions in songs lately. He knows what chains are used for these days but also aware of the connection from back in the days too. This one is a journey into the mind of Cole. Nice track.

Image is everything I see, it got a lot to do
With the way that people perceive, and what they believe
Money short so this jewelry is like a weave
Meant to deceive and hear niggas say I see you

Ain’t that some Shit (Interlude)
S.G.: Skip, that Middle Eastern inspired sound just throws me off. It seems like a random track to be honest with you.

Satchford: Only thing I like is the beat, the song – not so much. Skip.

Crooked Smile ft. TLC
S.G.: Didn’t like this song ever since I first heard it. It was pointless to have TLC on this track. The song sounds a bit too generic for me.

Satchford: Accept your flaws and love yourself the way you are. No need to fix what God already put his paintbrush on. J. Cole delivers a lot of substance to soak in over piano-laced production.  The chorus got annoying after a few listens. An overall positive jam that deserve some radio play. Single quality

we aint picture perfect but we worth the picture still

Let Nas Down
S.G.: Now this is what I’m talking about. Somebody is getting busy on that sax. There’s nothing like a good story. I’m glad Cole shared this experience with us and it shows vulnerability which is humbling. “I mean you made You Owe Me dog I thought u could relate”, lmao. It kind of sucks that he tells us about dropping Friday Night Lights in spite of the label. Another part of the song that I enjoy is when he says he’s just another human. He has flaws and emotions like everyone else. Excellent song

Satchford: This one is interesting and I was really curious to hear it after all the rumors. Starting a track reciting a nas is like verse, a verse that gives me chills just by how good it is. I like the way its told while Cole is completely honest to how he was feeling. Cole’s version of Big Brother I guess. I think all his fans knew deep down that Cole is more introspective like Nasir than he shows these days. (see The Warm Up / FNL) Songs like this remind me why I became a fan of his back in ’09. The jazzy horn is almost identical to Nas’ Stay

Born Sinner
S.G.: WTF is up with these subpar productions? The vocalist was decent at best. Your verses can’t be so excellent and everything else is just average. I know that this is the title song for the album but I feel that this could have been left off or it could have been better. I’m starting to wonder if Cole heard “Sing About Me”, if he did he should be ashamed of himself. Skip

Satchford: Bring it all home “I’m a born sinner but i die better than that” and then take em to church with the choir at the end. Great verses.

Should this be my last breath I’m blessed cause it was purposeful
Never got to church to worship lord but please be merciful

Conclusion
S.G.: I think that Cole did a better job at making an album on his second attempt. At least this album tried to stick to a theme. In my opinion there were no weak moments lyrically. He told stories, he shared his experiences, and he tapped into real life situations and emotions. Where I think the album lacked at was the productions. I believe he should have tapped some other producers for help on the album. I do like how the album did flow smoothly from track to track. Minimal guest appearances also aided the strength of the product. All in all I would have to recommend purchasing the album and seeing if some of the weaker songs grow on you. I don’t think you will be disappointed with the message.
Top 3 Fav Songs: Forbidden Fruit, Let Nas Down, & Land of the Snakes

Satchford: J Cole comes back to earth with this album, I enjoyed it. He knows the mistakes he made and he listened to his core fans. This is what we expected- at least i did. Looking at the overall product, these tracks pack a lot of regret, uncertainty, guilt but sprinkled with gratitude. Cole does a good job of getting his true thoughts out regardless of who’s listening. He stepped his production game up too (Villuminati is my fav ) I can see this album getting a good set of spins and only getting better with time. Cop this.
Top 3 Fav Songs: Villuminati, Let Nas Down, Runaway

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