One of the first things that J. Cole's fans might've noticed when he announced the title of his upcoming sophomore album, Born Sinner is that it discontinued the basketball-themed titles that he'd been working with for the past few years. Cole tells MTV News that this signals the end of one chapter and the beginning of another.
His Roc Nation debut, Cole World: The Sideline Story was a continuation of his basketball-themed mixtape series, which began with 2007's The Come Up, but album number two ushers in a new era.
"It was just time for something new. I wouldn't have minded doing it again but I felt that I closed that story," Cole said of the new title. "That metaphor and that storyline had really ended. Metaphorically I was just a kid working to get on this basketball team, got cut — that was The Come Up, then The Warm Up was like, alright I made the team, I'm on the team, now what? I'm not in the game, I'll just ride the end of the bench. Then Friday Night Lights was like 'come on man, you're still not gonna put me in the game? What I gotta do? Here, I'm gonna kill it in practice.' "
Finally, his studio album completed the cycle. "Sideline Story was like, 'Wow, I really am starting now,' and I feel like I ended that chapter when it's all said and done. Plus, this new theme is really more reflective of where I'm at and where I've been at for the past two years, so it was just perfect to move on."
Though Cole made his new album announcement complete with a clip of an altar boy in church, he says that by no means does it make religion a focal point of the new project. "It's not necessarily a church theme and it's not really about church," he explained. "I like my album themes to be metaphors because it gives me the freedom to speak about something else that's going on in my life, so the Born Sinner thing is not about church, it's not even about religion. It's using that as canvas to get other messages across and that's what the album will be."
The North Carolina native shied away from sharing too much about the album's content, saying that he'd "learned his lesson" from talking a lot about Sideline Story before it dropped, but he's already got a new single picked out and he promises that the June 25 release date is sticking.
Do you think J. Cole has finally left practice and is playing the game? Tell us in the comments!