On Tuesday (September 27), [artist id="3216320"]J. Cole[/artist] finally got up off the bench.
The Roc Nation rapper has presented each of his mixtapes — The Come Up, The Warm Up, and Friday Night Lights — with a sports analogy, and his major label debut is no different. Cole World: The Sideline Story, in stores today, tells the story of a young star yearning to get his shot at the big time.
"I'm pretty sure we're gonna celebrate somewhere," Cole told MTV2's Sucker Free of his release-day plans. "But to me, I think the real satisfaction and joy will come from when I go to the actual store and see that physical CD right there in my hands and I can look at it and go up and pay for it."
It's been a long road for the Jay-Z protégé. He first made a name for himself in 2007 with The Come Up and quietly signed to Jay-Z before he released his Warm Up mixtape in '09. He is a former XXL Freshmen cover subject, appeared on Hov's Blueprint III and has toured with Rihanna. But even with all of his accomplishments, Cole's debut went through a series of starts and stops. Not that the North Carolina rapper's career trajectory was that different from his rap contemporaries like B.o.B, Wale and Big Sean, but dropping an album has been a longtime goal for Cole.
Cole World is packed with radio-ready singles like "Can't Get Enough" (featuring Trey Songz), "Workout," and the Drake collaboration "In the Morning." There are potent album cuts as well. "Dollar and a Dream III" details Cole's artistic struggle, while "Lost Ones" tackles the topic of abortion and the effect that it can have on a young couple. "Mr. Nice Watch" features Jay-Z and the Missy Elliott-featuring "Nobody's Perfect" perfectly channels Misdemeanor's late-1990s R&B reign.
The release has lifted a weight off the young MC's shoulders.
"Even talking about it right now, I'm getting a little emotional because I can remember going to get so many albums and just the fact that mines is one of those," he said. "To me, that'll be the real incredible feeling, like all the things I've been through will finally be worth it because we made it to that."
J. Cole is no longer on the sidelines.
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