This album marks the beginning of a new era for the Fayetteville spitter after the end of his basketball themed mixtapes and album. The album was originally supposed to be released in January but it was delayed after Good Kid, Mad City came out. The album was finally released on the same day as Yeezus.
I studied Machiavelli
You niggas couldn’t blow with C4 strapped to your belly
I snuck up out the parks where niggas be living heartless
And cannot tell the difference between Iraqi, Israeli
It’s way darkerr this time.
when Cole started rapping on this track, i was like niiice. He really went in hard, it was like a reborn Cole, not the usuallaid back Cole we’re used to. three dope verses on a dope beat it doesn’t have a dope hook but that doesn’t take anything away from it. The song adresses cole’s style and how he mixes conscious rap and brag rap.
Cole did good with this intro
Kerney Sermon (skit)
This is from Pastor Kerney Thomas Jr and it just serves as a reminder of an old JCole song
LAnd of the snakes
That’s the least I owed her cause see I tried to hit
On the first night, and nah I ain’t proud of it
I boned her in my dorm room and kicked her out of it
this feels like one of em poetic songs, cole tryin to tell us something thatisn’t glaring at the first listen but even with that, this track coulda been a whole lot deeper. the song sounded pretty boring until the beat changed and you get a glimpse of pre- workout Cole.
Power trip ft Miguel
Back home I’m grown now and this city’s my throne now
The same clubs that I used to get tossed out
Life got crisscrossed, totally crossed out
Cause now I’m in this bitch and I’m totally bossed out
the first single off the album, it had a good reception, we’re happy. It’s just typical Cole sounding boring but still delivering dope lyrics and with a nice flow and the hook perfectly puts you in the mood of the song. The song is both about his love for a girl and love of hip hop.
Mo money (interlude)
Still broke compared to niggas with old money
I mean the type of niggas that laugh at Hov money
Billionaires with Petroleum and coal money
Probably kill themselves if they had Cole money
Talk shit and I’mma see you like you owe money
cole just be showing some skills, more like a freestyle addition to the albummore of something you’ll hear off a mixtape i guess that’s why it’s an “interlude”
Young bad bitch made the pastor drool
Everybody sweat her like Catholic school
Sat next to her in the back of the class
Cheated off of her test and I’m grabbing her ass
She like “Don’t you know this shit already?
i hate to make comparison’s but cole sounded like hov on this one and it’s a bad thing actuallyhe gives a very good graphic description in his 2nd verse that’s just pretty fun if youcould put yourself in his shoes. the way he talked about the thought of this track just shows why cole is good.
When it’s all said and done everybody dies
In this life ain’t no happy endings
Only pure beginnings followed by years of sinning and fake repentance
The preachers say we were made in image of Lord
To which I replied: “Are you sure?
Kids, don’t go to sleep yet. Uncle Jermaine has a story that will keep y’all awake. Once upon a time, the…hey!…wake up!…
Yeah, that’s how this song felt. I jammed it to the end and understood the story but that didn’t stop me from deleting it when I was done.
This is Martin Luther King in the club
Getting dubs, with a bad bitch
In his ear sayin’ that she down for whatever
In the back of his mind is Coretta
Cole has good skills and all, nice wordplay and all that butthis track feels like it lack somethings, even though the sample is used to great effect and the hook and chorus combo is on point. Don’t get me wrong it’s not a bad track but i guess it’s just not needed. The song is about cheating (Check the Coretta King and MLK line)
I hate rich niggas goddammit
Cause I ain’t never had a lot dammit
Who you had to kill, who you had to rob
Who you had to fuck just to make it to the top dammit.
Or maybe that’s daddy money, escalator no ladder money
Escalading new caddy money
you know that track on an album that you don’t know you like it but you just do, well this is IT! it’s a track that just flows, no struggles on it, it’s just pleasure to the ears, it really is a great track. The song has Cole talking about walking the line between being a sellout (A rich Nigga) and being true to his art and how he ends up being a little of both.
Forbidden fruit ft Kendrick Lamar
Do you believe that Eve had Adam in check
And if so, you gotta expect to sip juice
From the forbidden fruit and get loose
this song right here is a good example of hiphop is art, the way cole uses the story of the garden of edento depict how he as a man can easily fall for woman, it’s just too cool.But only things is kendrick didn’t rap and that’s kinda disappointing but all in all, kendrick did well and the chorus and made the song a good collabo an a glimpse of what’s to come. And before i forget.
Look at me, pathetic nigga,this chain that I bought
You mix greed, pain and fame, this its heinous result
Let these words be the colors I’m just paintin my heart
I’m knee-deep in the game and it ain’t what I thought
this track just sounds like he was high off the previous track, he must really have been in a great mood whenhe made this one. he’s basically just talking about materialism and how every rapper needs a gimmick to stay relevant. he plays out the track nicely even though the last two mins of it are basically a drag he reallydoesn’t have to be doing stuff like that. It even sounds like a Wale track.
Ain’t that some shit(interlude)
Yo bitch wearin’ that lipstick
Gave this dick a french kiss
That nigga so wack when the bitch came back
He kissed her hoping that it get him sick, ha
Ain’t that some shit
another “interlude” but damn! the beat is hot and cole went in, i really like this “interlude”
i mean i was like Ross dancing to durosoke
Crooked smile ft TLC
Cause he don’t seem to want you back and it’s got you asking
So all you see is what you lacking, not what you packing
Take it from a man that loves what you got
And baby girl you’re a star, don’t let ’em tell you you’re not
this is one for em ladies, he’s talking all them girls out there saying that nobody is perfect, i just hope they’re listeningcos the track is plain truth and very appealing with the music and the hook. itwas the second single off this album.
Let Nas down
This is for the nigga that said that hip-hop was dead
I went to Hell to resurrect it, how could you fail to respect it
Lettin’ Nas down, I got the phone call quietly I mourned dog, I let Nas down
Yeah, and on this flight may I never lose sight, fuck it
as much as it would be nice to go into the details about this track, there’s really no need it cos Cole just perfectly tells this story in every way possibleit’s one of em really personal tracks, really telling us of how important hip hop is to himi’m sure he’s glad he not only made this one but put it on his albumand even more so that Nas made a dope reply to it. This is Cole’s most sincere moment on the album. And he samples fela’s Gentleman on this one, in case you didn’t know.
Born sinner ft Fauntleroy
Should this be my last breath I’m blessed cause it was purposeful
Never got to church to worship lord but please be merciful
You made me versatile, well-rounded like cursive
Know you chose me for a purpose, I put my soul in these verses
Born sinner, was never born to be perfect
the music of this track sounds like something you’d hear in a movie after someone has done a lot of wrong things and found his way to church and just became born-again and ready to live a new life and the song as a whole fully captures that very wellit’s a good end to a really really good album. kudos to cole. ( Who still says kudos? I dare you to actually try saying it out loud. I dare you)
so here’s my conclusion, this is a dope album, definitely one of the best this year. Cole’s story telling skills were so well accompanied with a flow that’s just incredible, his wordplay was awesome. this is not an album you’d hear on a regular, he really puts his stamp down as a legit dope rapperand there’s gonna be more to expect from himand i hope he is able to surpass himself with the current level he’s gotten to. though the album doesn’t have some of the illest beats that we might have hoped for, the production is still pretty solid. also his voice is very much acceptable on this album, he wasn’t just rapping on the beats but flowing with it and making his voice go with the tone of the songs and giving us a good feeling of what some of the tracks were abouteven though this wasn’t felt on every track, he passes on this none the less. as for collaborations, Cole was audacious enough to own all his tracks, restricting artistes he featured to only the choruses, which is kind of his style, but i won’t lie it would have been nice to hear Kendrick rap on that track forbiddenfruit but never the less big ups to Cole for owning his shii.
so yeah, my final grade of the album would be a B+.