Brad Wete
September 22, 2011 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Cole World: The Sideline Story

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
performer
J. Cole
music label
9845
genre
Hip-Hop/Rap

We gave it a B+

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+

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