J. Cole’s ‘Born Sinner’: Album Review

June 18, 2013 12:41 PM

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Hip-Hop traditionally has the balance of two kings — where one star rapper is the flossy guy and the other is the pensive lyricist. We saw it with Big Daddy Kane and Rakim, Jay-Z and Nas, and ultimately Drake and J. Cole. Now, with artists like Kendrick Lamar quickly ascending into pensiveness, Cole needed to expand his horizons. Sure, he’s never been an all-around cerebral rapper, but much of his first album and in-betweeny mixtapes leaned heavily on his ability to toss around bars.

Most of the cuts on Born Sinner provide a healthy balance of objectifying women (“LAnd Of The Snakes”), celebrating women (“Crooked Smile” with TLC), self-deprecatingly honoring his own achievements (“Power Trip” with Miguel, “Rich N****Z,” and “Chaining Day”), all while still finding time to delve ...

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