Cole World: The Sideline Story 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,… J. Cole Hip-Hop/Rap Roc Nation
Music Review

Cole World: The Sideline Story

COLE HARD TRUTH Jay-Z's protégé calls on his famous friends to offer up a well-rounded debut
COLE HARD TRUTH Jay-Z's protégé calls on his famous friends to offer up a well-rounded debut
EW's GRADE
B+

Details Lead Performance: J. Cole; Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap; Production: Roc Nation

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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Originally posted Sep 21, 2011 Published in issue #1174 Sep 30, 2011 Order article reprints