Thoughts On J. Cole’s ‘Born Sinner’?

blame it on Shake July 3, 2013

Features: Miguel, Amber Coffman, Kendrick Lamar, TLC & James Fauntleroy
Production: J. Cole, Jake One, Elite, Syience, etc

Yesterday we had you share your thoughts on Mac Miller’s #June18th contribution, Watching Movies With The Sound Off. Now, let’s turn the discussion over to the number two best seller of the week, J. Cole’s Born Sinner. As he states on the album’s intro, the album is clearly darker than his major label debut, Cole World: The Sideline Story.

How do y’all compare Cole’s two retail releases? Does it stack up to his previous efforts? Favorite tracks? Any let downs? Let us know…


  • wat

    It was very good lyrically but beat-wise it was kinda weak. They were good beats for sure – like the production was top notch and well-done – but the beats had no oomph or pizzazz to make them really stand out. They all more or less maintained the same almost boring mood throughout the album. Nonetheless, I give it about a 7/10. I suggest Cole reach out to outside producers for his next projects. He’s definitely no Kanye on the beats.

  • TDE


  • adi pre

    Very solid album. Lyrically not amazing. Production was dope, glad he handled the majority of it, fave tracks – LAnd of the snakes, New York Times, Chaining Day and Runaway. Twice the album Sideline Story was. Not going to lie, Bas’s verse was one of the best verses on the album.

  • Dope but very predictable! You always know what to expect from Cole. There’s no Wow factor. 7.5/10

  • Rc927

    I don’t get why everyone got on Lupe’s case for using the T.R.O.Y sample (I don’t like Lupe’s song also) but why not get on J Cole for using the ATCQ and Outkast sample on this project. #LetQ-TipDown

  • antinerdrap

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz boring album

  • Word

    It was a dope album, and lyrically so much better then Kanyes. Kanye fell off. This album had mostly dope beats, and solid lyrics the whole way through. The only skippable song is Chaining Day. I’d give it a 8/10

  • Rc927

    And leave the Cults alone don’t any one sample them any more! 4/10

  • BKLYN Kid

    The album and J Cole are both boring for my own personal tastes. He’s a talented writer but his personality and presence on his tracks leaves MUCH to be desired. His production is ‘blah’ as well… *shug*. To each his own but just not for me.

  • joe

    very dope 9/10… love how he had a hand in producing all the tracks and there were no skippable tracks for me

  • skim

    I fucks with it 8.5/10

  • shutup

    no need to mention kanyes
    both albums sound wack
    atleast YEEZUS had kinda substance

  • lol


  • MewLover34

    Man, if you give this nonsense an 8, what is Take Care or GKMC? A fucking 50? 16 tracks, maybe a few of them were in the vicinity of dope. Albums around a 4/10 *waits for Doris & NWTS*

  • :

    Really dope album. 7.5/10

    It doesn’t beat out “The Warm Up” or “Friday Night Lights” but it’s easily better than “Cole World: The Sideline Story”

    Favorite tracks: Rich Niggaz & Let Nas Down

    Not really any let downs, but I did expect it to be better. The replay value has been good and I can easily sit through an entire listen. There aren’t any horrible tracks but there some that are just decent

  • J

    prolly like 6/10 if we’re doing that thing. gets less impressive with every listen. dull, raps too much about other rappers

  • Dope Album, understand his homages to the Tribe and Kast, but wasn’t really feeling the beats

  • rdd08

    Song for Song this is a Great Album but if you listen to the Album from Beginning to End it can get kinda Dull n alittle Boring

    this Album needed some Energy to it …. If Cole would’ve replaced a Track or 2 with ColeSummer and/or KennyLofton From TrulyYours2 I think that would’ve Greatly Improved the Flow of the Album

    Cole has this Habit where he seems to Make Extremely Similar Beats and Raps about the Same Subject Content too much … it’s like he gets caught in a funk and it takes a few songs to get out of it

    on BornSinner he has a alot of tracks with Low Energy “Dreamy” Beats and he spends alot of time Rapping bout how he Fucks Groupies and Models while he’s got a GoodGirl at home …. It’s Gets Repetitive but his Overall Lyrics, Content, and Skill Save the album

    but this Album does get better after a few Listens and is one to Grow on i give it a 7.5/10 or 8/10 …. Good Album but it couldve been Great

  • T

    No sophomore slump. My only knock on the album is that, yes, it does get a bit repetitive, but he was telling his story. Cole has nothing but potential. 9/10

  • Hunter Hearst Helmsly

    and whats up with all these 4/10s ….

    you guys graduate from the Bret Hart School of Criticism

  • marty mcfly

    It’s not Jay-Z so it sucks.

  • marty mcfly

    Get off my digital dick you homotrolling lame.

  • MusicHead

    It’s a 7.5-8/10 & what i say is law. Period. It has that “grow on you” factor alot but it’s def missing excitement but it’s great song for song no skippables .. Just great production good lyrics despite a few corny ass lines. Always good storytelling tho. Def a upgrade from Cole World.. still not a classic like Friday Nights Lights & not better than Warm Up.

    Also it’s not better than Yeezus ..their neck & neck honestly. You get past “On Sight” & Yeezus is great ..especially sonically.

  • DatGuy


    Fav tracks – Rich Niggaz, Land Of The Snakes, Villuminati

    Least fav – She Knows, Crooked Smile, Trouble

    I wish the beats were knocking better.

  • marty mcfly

    Ok here’s my real opinion:
    It’s not Jay-Z so it sucks balls.

  • adi pre

    Marty for President.

  • mR

    if i’m going to rank this among the other projects, it’d be something like:

    The Come Up < Sideline Story < Warm Up/Born Sinner < Friday Night Lights.

    Every time I throw it on, I end up running all the way through it. no skipped songs. It's dope that he produced the beats, but I wonder what he'd sound like over other production. (imagine Cole rapping over some Clams Casino shit….)

  • dEt0X2010

    Straight Classic, cant stop listening to it!!!!

  • robi


  • Let’s be real

    People still speak of “potential” two albums and so many mixtapes into his career?
    It was boring… He didn’t progress. A year from now everyone will have forgotten the album. He re-hashed the masters but took the soul out of them.. 4/10

  • Album is dope. Wish it was shorter though. It’s toooo long to listen too straight thru. That’s why people say it’s boring. It’s like watching a 3 hour long movie. It’s dope though.

    HOPEFULLY…. His next album has more track produced by other people besides himself. I wanna see him play the more rapper role instead of trying to prove he can make dope beat.

  • Drew

    Coming from a pretty big Cole fan 8/10, expected more after hearing Kenny Lofton, still dope though. Runaway is the best song IMO. Friday Night Lights still outshines everything.

  • miggie

    great album showing coles development and weaknesses. It was a very different sound and not much what a lot of us predicted and expected him to bring to the table for his sophomore album.


  • supman

    not bad like a seven outta ten but still..i wanna hear the dude that bodied everyone on that good friday track..and i didnt quite get that on this album dope nonetheless…

  • marty mcfly

    3.5/10. A Jay-Z feature would have made it 10/10. Now back to lubing up for Midnight.

  • Master Lee

    I thought Born Sinner was a classic. Definitely better than Cole’s first album. Cole has established himself as one of the new legends in the game.

  • I give it an 8/8.5 I was impressed by his single power trip In my opinion that single is a classic. Crooked smile good message on that song great joint. My top 5 favorite tracks off that album are chaining day, let nas down, power trip, run away, rich niggaz. He said in an interview that his next single might be forbidden fruit, I think for his next single he should go with she knows. Well this album was really good I was impressed even by his growth in production.

  • xpick

    I think the album was better than sideline story but you can’t really feel it having THAT EFFECT on the people ..like when GKMC dropped you felt like eeeeverybody was checking for it and you could feel Kendrick was on top of the world for that moment ..no album that j Cole has ever had has had that effect on his career aan d I also don’t like that the most “depth” in the album is him cheating on his girl on your -_-

  • Treally Trill

    Album was dope all the way the way through…yall some hattin ass rap critiquing ass dick riding ass fanny bandits Cole did his thing definitely showed growth and maturity in his flow (rhyme patterns) and content…out of all the things he talked about on this album all yall niggas heard was fucking hoes wit a good girl at home…tru hip hop heads understand cole paying homage to the greats especially in the state that hip hop is in now…to me it seems like cole was simply trying to get the younger generation to learn about the originators 5/5 cant wait for the cole and kendrick project

  • Jake101

    This album was a modern day classic in my opinion.
    Been a fan for a min since “The Come Up” and you can tell he mixed the gritty style from that tape and the thoughtful aspect of “The Warm Up.”

    I give it a 8.5/10

  • akmattic

    I agree with many of the comments here. He could’ve came more diverse with both eats and lyrics. Truly Yours 2 had many of us gassed up! Kenny Lofton is my joint…. but the album failed to create that sort of energy. Strong effort nonetheless…just was expecting more. Kenny Lofton, they only remember a ni88a when he stealing a base… tuff

  • Marty Mcfly

    just got done beating off to jay z’s new lyrics he posted, so my opinion might be a little bias but Coles songs put me to sleep. which is kind of a good thing because that’s the only place me and my boo thang can get away from you hating trolls. Marty & Sean Carter 4 life.

  • marty mcfly

    yeah this is wack, why isn’t cole listening to what jay says? jay is a genius and could make this a classic easy. but nah cole fucked up on this one. on another note, wale’s the gifted > born sinner. the gifted might be one of the greatest albums of the last decade for real.

    • Ben Arguit

      Wale ? Okaaay, I guess a pig is pork…

  • dread804

    there are too many songs on the album. Should have narrowed it down to 11-14 songs.

  • base coat

    Why are cats acting like if they heard Forbidden Fruit they would have recoqnized the sample used. If it wasn’t pointed out from the beginning you guys would have never knew what he sampled and who else sampled the same record. Even at that if you listen to forbidden fruit and Electric Relaxation from A Tribe Called Quest they sample the same sound so they sound similar because both songs use the same song by Ronnie Foster’s Mystic Brew. All this talk of not messing with classics is stupid. He’s been sampling songs from Outkast and the likes for a while now. By even mentioning Electric Relaxation in the same song some of these young cats can hear some dope hip hop and what paved the way for the sounds in hip hop you hear now. A Tribe Called Quest is dope and if Forbidden Fruit got a lot of people to listen to them then that’s dope. Everybody wants Cole to be a certain kind of artist but he isn’t. His stuff sounds different than what is out there now and that is a good thing. I don’t want Cole to sound like drake or Kendrick he has his own sound. Album 9.5/10. A Tribe Called Quest = chill dope music.



  • jules

    He should’ve cut the tracklist down to maybe 13 tracks. Add Kenny Lofton and you would have a really, REALLY solid piece of work.

  • zachariah

    I got tired of the intro after around 20 plays. I skip that run to LAnd of the snakes, Power Trip, skip Trouble and Runaway, they both fail to resonate with me, the production is lacking so I can’t give them a chance. She Knows is classic shit. The interludes don’t do it for me, Aint that some shit and Mo Money, I’m not into that stuff.
    Crooked Smile is GREAT. Rich Niggaz is cool once it rides out. Forbidden Fruit is ok. Skip title track, sounds like nothing. Chaining Day = Meh. Let Nas Down introspective great record. Miss America is a classic record. New York Times is GREAT, unexpected. Sparks Fly is an amazing record.

    It was too LONG!
    It’s lacking production wise, he needs to step up and work with some other guys. He will learn more from that then just being ignorant. If it wasn’t the deluxe version, it would get a 2/5, but the extra tracks even with a few misses, give it 3.5/5

  • kaptainkrunch88

    Idk am i the only one that thinks Sidelinestory was better than this?

    I can say this is his worst Project out and i am a big J. Cole fan.

    I can also say that Truly Yours Ep 1, 2, and 3 are better than Born Sinner.

    Very bummed out about this Album imo i think it lacked the deep emotional verses we are all use to.

  • fortiesandbluntskid

    It’s a decent album. Power Trip is probably the standout song to me and it’s a really good song. Still think he’s saying very little lyrically. He could be way more creative but he’s locked himself into this semi-conscious-rapper role which works for him when it comes to marketability (he can appeal to both hip-hop heads and radio listeners) but just underlines how little he actually has to say.

  • Three Billy Goats Gruff

    I feel it’s an average album in a sea of mediocrity. It does not suck!

  • boring sinner. ass.

  • J

    rapping over classic beats/samples isnt a problem, that’s perfectly fine homage. constantly referring to old greats and “schooling younger cats” on them only points towards Nas, Jay-Z, Pac etc. and takes attention off of Cole, he’s putting himself completely underneath other rappers constantly and it draws attention to his flaws relative to other rappers.

    “Cole has this Habit where he seems to Make Extremely Similar Beats and Raps about the Same Subject Content too much … it’s like he gets caught in a funk and it takes a few songs to get out of it”

    this also

  • J

    also the interludes are fire but the album coulda done without songs like runaway, she knows, trouble, forbidden fruit, crooked smile

  • pL

    If this album is a “modern day classic” then some of yall need to raise your standards…WAY UP

  • Mo

    No way Sideline Story is better than this. It has its gems but Born Sinner is consitent throughout. I give the album a 9.25/10. If he could’ve put Kenny Lofton in place of the 2nd interlude and Head Bussa somewhere on there I wouldn’t hesistate calling it a classic album. But kudos to Cole for putting out an album that was true to his vision.

  • 2Fackindope

    yall [email protected]@as must not have good systems, cuz the beats are knockin! good lyrical content, not just talking about money money money like all these other cats. Also, he should get more credit for producing his own shit, how many other cats do? Jayz dont make beats, drake dont make beats, J. Cole is an all around ARTIST. no just a fill in the beat rapper. This guy takes concepts and applies them to songs and albums as a whole. Haters gon Hate. But if you like REAL hiphop, then this is right up your alley. you little trap rap fuck boys go get that Chief keef. Jcole-new nas ….” I Pass the crown to you like it aint nothin'” -Nas #youaintletnasdown

  • 2Fackindope

    …and one more thing……FARTs a long squeeky one for you haters*** “remember ya spirit” -Chappelle

  • nyle

    The problem with this album is that it shouldve been his first album rather rhan that let down sideline story

  • All that shit marty mcfly was talking before Yeezus and Born Sinner dropped. Now that we’ve ad the chance to listen to both he wants to act like nobody remembers that shit. “The Gifted > Born Sinner”, gtfoh marty, you’ll find any reason to hate on J Cole. The Gifted is a great album, but so was Born Sinner, and I think we all (as hip-hop fans) can agree that Yeezus will probably go on record as being the let down of 2013.

  • The beats aren’t bad. They kinda have a same feeling or something. Idk I think it’s because they were all produced by him. I feel like I don’t get anything shocking like WOOOOW this is DOOPEE! one this album. I just think he needs to work with other producers. Because on his first album the songs I really thought were bangers were produced by someone else. I think Cole has pride issues. He should just focus on making the best album. Weather it’s produced by him or not. When he does that he’ll have something special.
    Still a Cole World though.

  • And yeah Kenny Loften should have been on here though. And it was definatly too long. Needs to be no more than 14 tracks to listen to all the way through or it’ll get tiring. As most albums do

  • I think the album is good though. I just don’t think it took him OVER the top. Then next one might. I think of cole like a late bloomer so when he drops that classic everyone that asks me why I like dude so much will know why. The dude has so much potential to be the king of this shit. U.O.E.N.O

  • vincinatti

    1st off #FreeRetro. nice album better then sideline story skipped a couple songs after a while but overall they were good or tolerable should’ve included a few songs from truly yours 3 and he would’ve had a classic there wasn’t much energy 8/10 the other comments from ppl saying its trash are trash probly cant comprehend the vision behind the album and they’re the reason hip hop is in the state it was imbeciles

  • Da Spaniard

    7/10. Good album

  • Just My Opinion

    Very smooth, mello album. I feel what some people say about him having a few more up-beat songs like “Villuminatti” to even out the album though. Maybe the sound fits better without a bunch of those type of tracks. Overall Cole got stronger lyrically AND production wise. He sounded hungry on this album and way more focused than his first to me. Let Nas Down, Chaining Day, Mo money, Runaway, Forbidden Fruit, even Power Trip are all great songs!!!! Cole has yet to drop a bad project. Also I think him & KRIT should be respected a little more for fully producing all of the beats on these EPs, tapes, and albums. Not many can do that and rap really well.

  • MuT

    i loved it. felt like a great purchase. still listening.



  • And 1


  • Goooooooood Album!
    Did’nt take him over the top.
    But it was a good ass album man.
    Take 2 tracks off and you got a 10

    His next album will be that one to take him over the top. Cole is a growing artist growing gradually. He’s not like drake where all He Sees is the bottom because he’s at the top. That’s an easy fall. Cole is climbing a mountain. And he’s climbing it pretty well might I add.

  • ayybruh

    Overall this shit was solid. I dont wanna call it ‘predictable’ but you usually know what your gunna get from Cole. For me there are like 3 skippable songs on here (Trouble, She Knows, Second Interlude). Lyrically, Cole is a good story teller and still has potential but he still sprinkles in some really whack corny lines every once in a while that just throw me off: (‘This just-in fucked more bitches than Bieber tho”) <– c'mon son. As far as production goes it was also pretty solid. Him using the OK and ATCQ samples was risky, and I like how he flipped it for Forbidden Fruit, not so much LAnd of Snakes, he pretty much remade the beat for that and it doesnt sound as good, he should just spit over the orignial and put it on a Truly Yours. I feel like it couldve been mixed a bit better too, some of the drums dont bump as much as they should IMO. But overall tho its sounded the same from when i first heard it.

    Fav Track: VIlluminati Worst Track: Trouble Rating: 6.8/10

  • I don’t know how people think that Yeezus is better than Born Sinner. I mean, what the fuck people?

    Born Sinner was worked on for a long time. Sure, it got scratched and scratched and scratched. I felt like Sideline Story would’ve been a great album if he didn’t have to do that weird dancing techno shit. Born Sinner was perfectly cohesive, and y’all know that. I know some of y’all think that’s ‘boring,’ but having a consistent-sounding project is what’s really lacking in the industry right now. The industry really fucked Sideline Story up, and this was a great album. 7/10

    And motherfuckers need to stop comparing cole to Kendrick and Jay Z and Kanye. Actually, keep comparing. That means Cole is finally among the greats.

  • dEt0X2010

    Album is dope man, hes talking about some good stuff through out the ablum, idk how ppl say its boring, i can listen thru the whole thing over and over again man. so dope 9/10

  • the akbum was pure rass. i give it a skunt/10. it shouldve been called balck pagaly tun up.

  • L.O. They know

    cole”s album was dope. it flowed all the way through…for everyone saying he should reach outside for productions next time I agree. but he was trying to show you all that he doesn’t need a flurry of monster producers and features to sell an album…a la French Montana. He showed you all just what he is capable of. Kanye’s album is still better though because it wasn’t predicable and he is always thinking outside of the box. Yall don’t realize though that cole released so many albums as mixtapes cause your favorite labels wouldn’t sign him and promote him. The new age rapper has to promote himself before he can get a release so he had to drop a lot. imagine Friday night lights being album number 1….yall would have gave him a grammy last year. So don’t knock this album cause he showed yall consistency… be greatful…and finally it was way better than Magna carta holy grail….by a mile……cole is lyrically incline…… now a days jay feel like he aint gotta rhyme….

  • L.O. They know

    oh and for all yall talking crap about cole sampling a tribe called quest….jay sampled sucka nigga and biggie on his album even with a bunch of hip hops finest producers on his team…… but cole aint shit…. yall tripping mayne

  • ngzzknow

    Album of the year