Like many, I’ve been following the news of the shocking and appaling murder of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, by police in Minneapolis, USA. The consequential outrage of his killing has not only sparked protests there, but spread to other cities in the United States too and across the world, with demostrations in Auckland, Berlin, London, and more. George Floyd’s death, and the circumstances surrounding it, is one of many examples of police brutality and racism towards the black community in America. As things began to boil up over the murder of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, and Breanna Taylor in Louisevill, and the consequent investigation (or the lack of), things have now boiled over to the point where enough is enough, and things need to change. The worldwide response shows that this sort of racist behaviour isn’t just succluded to America, the insututional day-to-day injustices and the things we don’t see, are happening all over.
Following the announcement that the J. Cole lead label Dreamville had officially signed a partnership with legendary Interscope Records, Cole, also celebrating his 29th birthday on the same day, released a free 11 track mixtape entitled Revenge Of The Dreamers. Boasting a pretty impressive record of two number one albums and a handful of gold and platinum selling singles it is apparent that Cole is eager to use his still-rising status to let others shine. The mixtape introduces Dreamville’s small, but talented roster, including Bas, Omen and K-Quick, with Cole also featuring on tracks and intertwining with freestyles.
Cole returns with his second studio album entitled ‘Born Sinner’ bringing his usual classical hip-hop style and smooth flow. The album was released on June 18th, which just so happened to be the release date for Kanye Wests album ‘Yeezus’, and also Mac Millers new album ‘Watching Movies With The Sound Off.’ Having already reviewed those two albums I can safely say that all three are completely different, in style, lyrical content and also in what audience they are for. ‘Born Sinner’ brings a more linear less experimental hip-hop album to the table, instead focusing on the lyrical content and storytelling side of things, portraying his life in North Carolina and points of views on more traditional beats. The album has a nice relaxed feel about it with Cole having the uncanny ability to paint pictures in your mind, giving off an autobiographical film type of atmosphere. Clever and funny ad-libs (skits) and also freestyles (interludes) feature throughout the album, which breaks up and links the album together really well. In terms of features there’s not too many, and most only feature as a chorus singer, i.e. Miguel, TLC, Amber Coffman, Cole relying on his versatility to keep the album interesting and on point. The only criticism I would have is that the album kind of just stays on the same level and there’s not enough variety in it, but in saying that I think that could just be because there’s no bad tracks on the album, they’re all good. My personal favourites from the album include ‘Power Trip’, ‘Rich Niggaz’ and ‘Let Nas Down.’ The art of story telling and lyricism certainly goes to Cole out of the three and ‘Born Sinner’ is a brilliantly put together piece of work.
June 18th saw three completely different artists go head-to-head, in my opinion ‘Born Sinner’ was the best out of the three, but what’s your opinion, what do you think was the best? The creative and innovative ‘Yeezus’, the classical story telling of ‘Born Sinner’ or the variety and complex lyricism of ‘WMWTSO.’ Let me know your opinion in the comments…