On June 18th, J. Cole is set to release his sophomore album, Born Sinner. It is available now to stream on bornsinner.com.
Cole has repeatedly stressed in interviews that the underlying theme of this album is not church related. I beg to differ. While the subject matter is explicitly lascivious and vulgar, the overall concept is a fundamental aspect of the Christian experience.
In a musical genre dominated by elaborate tales ranging from excessive spending to sexual conquests it is rare to hear an artist deal with topics open and honestly. Cole's first spoken words on the album are, "It's way darker this time." Some content may seem dismal, but Jermaine has made himself completely transparent. He has laid all his cards on the table while still possessing the same lyrical prowess that has drawn so many people to him in the first place.
In all facets this is a public, very public, confession.
1. Villuminati - "Sometimes I brag like Hov." Cole kicks off the album with confessing his tendency to be a braggart. Cole has earned the right to put his humility aside to establish himself as a force to be reckoned with. But, nonetheless, lack of humility has led to many people's downfalls.
3. Land Of The Snakes - Here J. Cole manages to slide the theme of the album into the track. "Who more thorough than me?/ I paint a picture of my pain for the world to see." He describes his surroundings as being filled with untrustworthy/devious individuals. By the end of the track he confesses that he once displayed similar qualities.
5. Mo Money - This theme wouldn't be complete without the root of all evil; money. This track is more about what others do to obtain money than a personal confession but Cole does confess to the wicked ways he spends his money.
7. Runaway - Cole confesses his struggle to stay faithful in his relationship while handling the temptations that accompany becoming famous. "Acting out my childhood fantasies of wife and home/ but there's a whole lot of actresses I'd like to bone"
9. Rich N***** - On this track Jermaine confesses how he despises those who have more money than him because of living most of his life without having much. He also confesses to not wanting to be like his father. "But listen here/ I got a bigger fear/ of one day that I become you/ and I become lost and I become heartless." This line has a dual meaning speaking on his disdain for his father and the music industry for the selling of dreams and false hope.