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J. Cole is Truly Yours but still a Born Sinner [Review]

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Fayetteville, NCJ. Cole brought down the curtains to a year long absence from the spotlight and released a five-track series entitled Truly Yours on Feb. 12, a layover for fans anticipating the follow-up to his 2011 debut LP.

The 28-year-old rapper and producer previously announced his sophomore LP entitled Born Sinner would drop on Jan. 28, 2013. But the delay should come to no surprise for anyone who knows how often major-label releases get moved back. Although he may dub himself a ‘Born Sinner’, the skeptics are entirely untrue for the Hova-endorsed artist who’s soul is plagued with anything but greed, but rather sympathy for his followers.

“It’s time,” said Cole. “I appreciate [fans] giving me the time I needed to grow, experiment and find the direction for my second album.. And I have.”

Read on the rest after the jump.

Review: J. Cole is Truly Yours but still a Born Sinner - HipHopCanada.com


Many were well aware of the North Carolina artist’s collaborative announcements for Out The Sky with Kendrick Lamar, which the same many are still anticipating. However, what they didn’t know of were Cole’s efforts behind studio doors over the last 12 months.

“…I’ve recorded at least four albums worth of material,” he said. “Lots of it being unfinished demo versions waiting to be polished up, some of them are great songs and important stories that just won’t make the album. Either they don’t fit theme, or there’s just not enough space.”

Cole has always been notorious for dishing out free music, even before his Jay-Z glory days. The two critically well-received mix-tapes, The Warm Up and Friday Night Lights were more than stepping stones for the rapper and producer who solely represented the idea of having creative control before signing to Roc Nation and releasing his debut LP in the late months of 2011.

Cole World: The Sideline Story brought back fan favorites such as “Lost Ones” and “Lights Please”. Will Truly Yours follow the same fashion? If so, then the five-song release is truly a testament to the brainchild Cole is.

The series begins with “Can I Holla’ At Ya,” which features hard-hitting drum samples and guitar licks from Lauryn Hill’s classic 90′s release, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. The lyricism is as concise and conscious as ever, regarding Cole’s standards. There’s a reason why the East-coast rapper is compared to the likes of the late Tupac Shakur; the three heart felt verses on the opening track will drive emotions through the listener.

If that isn’t enough to fuel the Pac contrast, Cole is one of few, if not the only ‘momma’s boy’ lyricist that can still get away with it.

Truly Yours is melancholic by all means, be it the nostalgic sounding sample used in “Crunch Time” or the hard knock poetic ode to Ol’ Dirty Bastard in “Tears for ODB.” But there are many words one can use to sum up the release which Cole himself cannot even label. ‘Mysterious’ is one.

“Don’t call it a mixtape,” he said. “It’s a not a preview of the album either… Woke up today and wanted to share these.”

“Tonight, I want to give [the fans] a few of these songs because you deserve them. It’s been hard as fuck for me to keep all this music from you for so long, so I know it’s been hard for you to wait.”

For now, Truly Yours is a devout hold-over until Born Sinner drops on a date he has not yet been enclosed.

“First single coming this week,” he said. “The album is hands down my best work yet. Can’t wait to share.”

Download Truly Yours off J. Cole’s Dreamvillain blog here.

Review written by @ZackNoureddine for HipHopCanada

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Zack Noureddine is a member of HipHopCanada's Central Canada team.

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