Today: Jun 25, 2024

Album Review: J. Cole vs. Kanye West

J. Cole, left, and Kanye West, right, both fought for the number one spot on the charts.

Bobby MartinezSports Writer

NEW HAVEN — Summertime is a season of relaxation, drinks, beaches and good music–for the most part.  Hip-Hop fans across the world witnessed a heated race for that number one album spot between J. Cole and Kanye West this summer.

J. Cole’s progression on his second studio album “Born Sinner” has shown his growth as an artist. Cole delivers numerous stories in this album that will make you step back for a moment and just think, “Wow, that was deep.”

Cole was signed in 2009 by hip hop legend Jay-Z and became a part of the Rocnation label, which includes artists such as Jay Electronica, Rita Ora and also Jay-Z himself.  Born Sinner opened up with a song name “Villuminati” which has a sample used from the Biggie Smalls song, “Juicy.” Cole raps about his lifestyle at this moment compared to where he was years ago, and at times he now brags like Jay-Z. In other words, Cole is at the point of his career where people now know who he is and at the same time making so much money that he feels untouchable.

J. Cole, left, and Kanye West, right, both fought for the number one spot on the charts.
J. Cole, left, and Kanye West, right, both fought for the number one spot on the charts.

Cole said on Power 105’s radio show “Breakfast Club” that he chose to drop his album the same day as Kanye West because he feels ready to show his development as an artist. Also, he wants people to acknowledge all the hard work he put in for this album.

“My feeling at the time,” said Cole, “was I worked way too hard on the album to come a week after Kanye West.”

“Power Trip” featuring Miguel was the first single for Cole’s album. It did go platinum in sales and also gained a lot of buzz leading to the release date. “Power Trip” is a song in which Cole takes you through a vision of relationship issues. In a depression, drinking at nights was his relaxation while still stressing over a girl who he pictured to be the one for him.

“Power Trip” is a follow up from a song named “Dreams” that was featured on Cole’s mixtape called “The Warm Up” that was released in 2009.  In this song, Cole raps about a girl who he liked so much and was always dreaming of a life together until he approached her at the mall and she told him she had a man. It crushed his heart to hear that from her to the point where he stalked her boyfriend and prayed something bad went wrong between them.

Cole’s album was very impressive from the lyrics, production, beats and samples used to create the beats. Cole had limited artists featured on his album from Kendrick Lamar, Miguel, TLC and Amber Coffman.

If I was to rate the album, I would give Cole 4/5 stars.  With the summer almost over, Cole’s album is by far the top three best albums that have dropped in 2013. In order to claim the number one album, Cole will have to go up against a living legend by the name of Kanye West. West is not like many artists in all types of genre of music.

Kanye West's new album "Yeezy"
Kanye West’s new album “Yeezy”

West has won 21 Grammy awards, while being nominated 53 times. Overall as an artist and producer, West has won 124 awards and has been nominated 374 times. Over the years, West has shaped out to be an artist who keeps to himself. It’s hard to really understand West ever since the passing of his mother in 2007 due to plastic surgery. He released a depressing “808’s and heartbreak” followed by a platinum album “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”.

Lately, West has had numerous run-ins with paparazzi which all have been caught on camera. This could be a good explanation as to why he never speaks to the public so much. West has now delivered another album called “Yeezus.” The title Yeezus is based off one of his rap names “Yeezy” combined with Jesus. He was going to name his album “I am God” but the record label didn’t approve.

“Yeezus” was very different compared to any album that has been released by a top hip-hop artist overall. West’s production on this album is a mixture of techno, rock and hip-hop and crazy beats. It’s music that doesn’t compare to any album out right now as far as production wise. The album was very outspoken and eye opening mainly because of the lyrics.

The introduction of the album, “On Sight,” made me, and I’m sure many others, very confused. The beat was so different compared to any other beat he had ever rapped on. All the lyrics on this album have to do with religion, race and women.

West has a song on this album called “Black Skinhead. In this song it expresses his feelings of people in general over the past years. For example, West says in a lyric, “F*** every question you asking/if I don’t get ran out by Catholics, here come some conservative Baptists/claiming I’m overacting.” In these lyrics, he’s expressing that everyone hates him. West is saying that if it’s not Catholics that are on him for his lyrics, songs and personality, someone else will still be attacking him.

During an interview on “BBC Radio 1,” Jay-Z compared Yeezus to an piece that would be in an art gallery.

“He’s always been striving for this moment. Just to find the place of expression,” said Jay-Z, in regards to Kanye, “Through whatever medium it is. Right now it’s music. He wants to do fashion. He’s trying to master all that.”

“Yeezus” consisted of only 10 songs with features from Frank Ocean, Chief Keef, Justin Vernon, Kid Cudi, Travis Scott, King Louie and Charlie Wilson. Rating this album, West would receive three out of five stars.

Cole managed to sell and impressive 298,922 thousand copies first week. As for West he managed to grab the number one spot with sales reaching 328,000 copies. Both albums to date have received gold plaques for selling over 500,000 copies. But Cole overall is selling more albums than West and is coming closer to receiving a platinum plaque for “Born Sinner.”

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