And The Grammy Goes To…: J. Cole’s Best Lyrics (undisputedly)
There has been an ongoing debate amongst J. Cole fans over which song features his greatest lyrical performance. I am here to bring it to an end. IMMEDIATELY.
The title track off of his debut album “Cole World: Sideline Story”.
Simply put “Sideline Story” (especially compunded with the interlude) details one of the greatest triumph stories in hip-hop. So to make it simple I’m going to use excerpts from the lyrics to make my case.
I put my heart and soul in this game, I’m feelin’ drained
Tired of comin’ up short, fuck abbreviated
Want my whole name spelled out, my own pain spilled out
He’s describing how he has put so much effort forth and yet it feels sometimes as if it is not going anywhere. And in regards to abbreviation, he is tired of people selling him short. He wants the full rights and privileges that he feels he deserves which are accolades, writing/production credit, etc. Already you can see that J. Cole expresses a certain level of humanity that many other rappers lack. He is not afraid to say that he feels cheated and you can feel this strong drive to succeed.
But homie if you change, man you change for the better
Back when Martin King had a thing for Coretta
Wonder if she seen all the dreams he was dreamin’
Did she have a clue of all the schemes he was schemin’
Still loved her just enough to put up with the cheatin’
Must go by and only see him for a weekend
I say a prayer, hope my girl ain’t leavin’
We all got angels, we all got demons
As you fall through the club
Bad bitches down to do all the above
Money comes fast so bein’ hungry don’t last
The reference to MLK and Coretta Scott King is experiencing the possibility that she tolerated his infidielities because she saw the bigger picture of “his dream”. He is applying that same idea to himself with the idea that his significant other will tolerant some of his actions because she sees the bigger picture. Not all of hip-hop is glitzy. There are pitfalls. Because although you may be tempted to live up to the image that “real rappers” are supposed to date multiple women but eventually that will get old and when you do commit there has to be ultimate trust that he will resist the perpetual temptation that is around him. He is once again highlighting the dycotomous relationship between J. Cole the rapper and Jermaine Cole the man.
Slang we be speakin’ probably soundin’ like Spanish
Then I fuck they heads up when a nigga show manners
Some New York niggas thought it was funny callin’ us Bamma
Laughin’ at the grammer cause they didn’t understand us
Must’ve thought they slow, but little do they know
I came up in here to take advantage of that shit ya’ll take for granted
Opportunity that I would kill for
Lookin’ at rappers like “what the fuck you got a deal for?!”
When I was assed out with my funds low
It’s nice to know I had the whole world at my front door
This verse literally changed my life. It’s beautiful isn’t it? (that was technically retorical but I hope you still said yes). It opitomizes everything that I feel as a southerner who came to NYC with the idea of being uber successful. When people initially meet him they may think that he lacks intelligence due to his accent but he’s that sneak attack everyone feared and no one expected. J. Cole has such determination that I can truly say that he has been an inspiration force in my own life. He and I share so many things one of them being the desire to succeed. His lyrics feature such urgency to receive it and his struggle to get there.
This is what makes him so special. Many other MCs are wearing million dollar diamond chains and driving Bogati’s and have stacks of money…in their first video. They make it seem as if they’ve always had it like that. J. Cole in his first video “Young Simba” has on a white t-shirt and jeans walking down an alley. He makes everything seem so achievable. If J Cole can do it then so can I. He is so honest, vulnerable and thus very human about his desires and end the end he is always so positive. He ends the song by saying that even at what some people would consider to be his lowest point, he still knew that there were infinite opportunities for success.
I love it. Case closed.
You can buy the album here: http://www.amazon.com/Cole-World-Sideline-Story-J/dp/B005C9WA20