Lwandile Msutu |
The Born Sinner album released on the 18 June 2013 by Roc Nation rapper J Cole was a born success. Born Sinner ,the artists sophomore studio album, rose to number one on the Billboard 200 album chart ,outselling Kanye West album ‘Yeezus’, with total sales estimated at 439 000. Born Sinner tells the story of a young man whom finds himself corrupted by the new world he’s in but is trying to get out with guidance from the church.
The Born Sinner album comes across as J Cole finally finding himself. He was determined to show that he’s really an artist after his past mistakes as a young rapper. J Cole wanted to take this new opportunity to re-introduce himself and share his story. In an interview J Cole talks about how his new-found self has affected him with his issues with infidelity, racism and spirituality moving away from the pressure to make commercial songs like Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, and Drake. J Cole did most of the album himself production and song wise, which is rare in the rap these days. If he had a compilation of hot artists it would have taken the focus off Cole himself. So taking the risk of doing an album mostly himself was different and exciting because these days most albums consist of compilations with many different artists. J Cole stated in an interview that he made the music to deliver himself out of the dark place he was in, a place he never experienced until fame.
The lead singles on the album are “Power Trip” and “Crooked Smile”. The hit single “Power Trip” successfully introduces many of the sound elements with jumpy Timbaland-inspired drums, rumbling bass, soulful melodies often sung by Cole himself and Miguel provides beautiful vocals to tie the song up well says Rap genuis in the review of the album. “Crooked smile” is a Kanye West influenced songs on the album. The single collaborates a sort of chipmunk soul (autotune), with a fast vocal , bouncy piano chords and a choir. TLC’s T-Boz and Chili add an uplifting hook in between J. Cole’s bars which adds the finishing soulful touch to the single.
“Let Nas Down” is the song most people are heavily talking about from the album.In this single J.Cole pours his heart hoping that he can gain approval from his idol Nas for stepping up lyrically. In the single he explains his initial reaction to when Nas told him that he wasn’t feeling the song J Cole’s biggest hit “Workout” and shows that he’s trying to win his approval. It further shows how highly regarded Nas really is as an emcee.
The album Born Sinner at best showcases J. Cole’s overall musicality, combined with his ability as a lyricist. The album shows that the saviour that Jay-Z’s “A Star is Born” seemed to mention has been born . The fact that Cole’s released Born Sinner’s the same day as Kanye’s Yeezus and beat Kanye in sales shows the quality of the album. I would rate the album a 9 out of 10.