Bigger names in hip-hop have released albums this year, but few trump this debut. Cole, who’s been studying under label head Jay-Z for two years, seems to have learned plenty. Cole World: The Sideline Story is a well-rounded effort, and deeper than most, offering cuts that tackle unplanned pregnancy (”Lost Ones”) and uncertain love (”Nobody’s Perfect”). ”It’s your time,” Jay skillfully says to him on the gaudy, dubstep-tinged ”Mr. Nice Watch.” Cole’s making the best of it. B+
COLE HARD TRUTH Jay-Z's protégé calls on his famous friends to offer up a well-rounded debut
Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap; Lead Performer: J. Cole; Music Label: Roc Nation
Posted September 22 2011 — 12:00 AM EDT
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