A Relatively Unknown Rapper Killed Jay-Z And Kanye In The Race For Album Of The Summer

j cole born sinnerJ. Cole, Born Sinner

The summer is a time for epic entertainment. From movies to music, as the world slows, there’s simply more time to enjoy the things that make us feel good.

And so we have high expectations.

This summer Jay-Z’s Magna Carta/Holy Grail and Kanye West’s Yeezus were supposed to be full of those hot jams for warm nights. The top-down burners we play in the winter to remind us what relaxation feels like.

But neither album will function for that. Luckily, there’s an awesome replacement.

The two kings of hip-hop were dethroned from their summer reign by a relative unknown — J. Cole. His 2nd album, Born Sinner is the hop-hop album of the summer. It’s the answer to the boredom of Magna Carta/Holy Grail. It fills the groove-void left by Kanye’s foray into the headier side of music (whether you like that or not). 

Magna Carta/Holy Grail lacks imagination. Period. It’s the result of a fat and happy Jay-Z — of Old King Cole sitting on his throne, counting his money, and ordering fifes and drums to his side to construct a melody he can lazily spit rhymes over. The man isn’t hungry — consensus is that song after song, all he has to talk about is how satisfied he is.

NPR called Jay-Z’s album “mostly enjoyable and wholly serviceable, but it’s also safe and unadventurous.” Flavorwire did him worse, calling it “the ‘Wall Street Journal’ of hip-hop.”

Right now, Jay-Z’s younger, Reasonable Doubt self would be looking up at him right, waiting for the moment to swipe his crown.

But since he can’t do that, J. Cole did it for him — for us, actually. Born Sinner is just a sick, every-minute-of-these-21-tracks-is-quality album. The rhymes are tight, the beats are tight, the kid is hungry.

It jumps off with Villuminati, a track with a rich nod-your-head beat, where J.Cole manages to rhyme “Machiavelli” and “C-4 strapped to your belly.”

It just gets better after that. There’s an insane gospel choir hook in the 6th track, Trouble, that could make your hair stand on end. And for anyone that was waiting for the smooth bop of a classic Kanye song, check out Chaining Day. It’s not exactly the same, but you won’t be disappointed it.

The moral of this story is that rappers have always been right. They’ve rhymed it a million times — there is always someone  waiting in the wings, trying to take your spot while you’re focused on anything but your hunger.

Jay-Z and Kanye asked us to watch the throne. So what did they expect?

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