Born Sinner: Predictions On J. Cole's Sophomore Album

An improved understanding of Top 40 radio singles, a desire to provide social commentary and some natural evolution as an artist offer reasons to be excited about J. Cole's "Born Sinner" album.

In November of 2012, nearly 14 months after his debut album dropped, J. Cole took to U-Stream to announce that he had a date set for his sophomore effort, Born Sinner. In the six months since the announcement, anticipation among Cole fans has been building, and the Fayetteville, North Carolina emcee/producer has satiated fans’ appetites with two Truly Yours EPs. Meanwhile, the singles “Power Trip” and “Miss America” have set a standard of sorts for what J. Cole is delivering to the masses in terms of catering to both Top 40, terrestrial radio and his rabid fan base. But what can we casual fans expect on the rest of Born Sinner?

Blow Up: The Anatomy Of A J. Cole Single

If “Miss America” and “Power Trip” are any indication, Born Sinner should find J. Cole finally mastering the awkward dance with mainstream radio. It’s safe to assume that anyone under the tutelage of Jay-Z understands why an artist needs or wants to be courted by mainstream radio. Aside from providing another revenue stream, radio success usually allows labels to recoup some of their investment—ultimately resulting in more creative control for some artists. The initial singles from Cole World: The Sideline Story showcased an understanding of this strategy, but there were clearly some holes in the execution.

Critics and a fair amount of fans will always expect top-tier emcees to buy into a certain Golden Era Hip Hop ethos inspired by the emcees that dominated the early-to-mid ‘90s. They want intricate rhyme schemes, witty metaphors and similes and obscure samples as source material. But one of Cole World’s most commercially successful singles, “Work Out” offered none of the above. The delivery was overly simple, and the track interpolated both Paula Abdul’s 1988 single “Straight Up” while also borrowing heavily from Kanye West’s 2004 hit, “The New Workout Plan.” And while Cole has shown an affinity for sampling, he didn’t add anything particularly new to either of the works he sampled. The track essentially offered two extended choruses about twerking followed by a proposition for a one-night stand. Conversely, “Who Dat” was tepid and functioned as a single in name only. It had the requisite, repetitive chorus, which is always the sign of an olive branch being extended to Top 40 radio. And it had an anthemic beat with snares crisp enough for Cole’s delivery without being too threatening for the suburban, Clear Channel demographic.

The formula behind each effort was reflected in the commercial results. “Who Dat” disappeared from the charts after one week—barely making a cameo on Billboard magazine’s “Hot 100” chart by peaking at the number 93 spot. Meanwhile, the platinum plus success of “Work Out” almost felt like a reward for a lack of artistry. The single was nominated for a Grammy, and spent 28 weeks on the “Hot 100” chart while peaking at the number 13 spot. The source material wasn’t the problem, as the Drake-assisted “In The Morning” is proof that Cole is quite familiar with making more innovative songs about one-night stands and their consequences. “Work Out” just felt forced, but the commercial results and Cole’s reflection on “Work Out” point to him playing a larger game.

“That's how you get a song like ‘Work Out,’” J. Cole told Karmaloop TV. “I went to radio stations and seen how radio stations work...I went and learned all these things. That’s how I made a record like ‘Work Out,’ I went, ‘Okay, I can play that game. I’ll give you a song full of hooks,’ the catchy shit that I knew would work on radio. That’s me playing the game.”

By the time, “Nobody’s Perfect” hit the airwaves, J. Cole seemed to have worked out the kinks of the radio game. He borrowed Timbaland’s trademark, syncopated bass drums for a Missy Elliott cameo. True to form, Missy reminded listeners why she and Timbaland revolutionized radio with a genre blending style that’s still being copied today by the likes of Ciara and Lady Gaga—but that’s another topic for another day. Missy essentially runs circles around J. Cole the rapper during her limited time on “Nobody’s Perfect.” But as a producer, Cole had the foresight to find a collaborator that was at ease giving radio programmers the catchy, sing-song hooks they crave. That allowed him to stay in his lane and avoid Auto-tune and Paula Abdul—two things that most rappers (yes, this means you too, Future) should stay far away from. And his Timbaland-inspired production put Missy in her comfort zone. The duration of the song found J. Cole hitting his go-to topics of college, sexual escapades, basketball and his ascension in the Rap ranks, but his brief observation of, “They killin’ niggas for Jays / That’s death over designer,” hinted at the desire to touch on more compelling subject matter.

Back To The Topic: J. Cole’s Sophomore Growth

When judged against the “Who Dat” and “Work Out,” both “Miss America” and “Power Trip” display the type of growth one hopes to see from an artist on their sophomore effort. Granted, you can make a strong argument that The Come Up, The Warm Up, Friday Night Lights and Cole’s two free Truly Yours EPs carried album-worthy material. As such, he’s put out the rough equivalent of five albums worth of material in six years. Even so, despite being a blatant reach for radio spins “Power Trip” feels more organic as a single; it finds J. Cole in familiar territory. It’s both self-referential (the female subject of the mixtape cut “Dreams” returns) and self-deprecating, with Cole running through an inner-monologue questioning the origins of his “Captain Save-A-Hoe” tendencies. Again, he’s at least fictionally mining the subject of returning to Fayetteville.

“Power Trip” has a double meaning both as the literal gratification one gets from lording authority over others, and it refers to the “trip” a currently upward mobile Cole takes back to his hometown to visit the woman (real or imagined) serving as the subject of the song. It’s not Ralph Ellison, but certainly deeper than the drivel served up on “Work Out.” So far “Power Trip” has already cracked the Top 20 during a 13-week (and counting) stay on the charts. Win-win.

“The most exciting part about that song [‘Power Trip’] and the reason why we went with it is that it sounds like nothing that's out,” J. Cole told MTV back in February. “Absolutely you couldn’t point to any song on the radio and be like, ‘Oh, this sounds like that’…everything from the beat to the way that I’m flowing, you’ve never really heard me so sleepy. I really did them verses in my crib and just loved the way they felt.”

This is a good time to point out that predicting what a rapper will do on any given project can sometimes be an exercise in futility. Raise your hand if you correctly predicted Nas shitting on a few albums worth of goodwill in 1999 by opting for a duet with Ginuwine (“Owe Me Back”) and a rhyme cadence inspired by “Carol Of The Bells” (“Shoot ‘Em Up”) on Nastradamus. But this isn’t about “God’s Son.” As it relates to one Jermaine Lamarr Cole, we have both the singles and some brief commentary from the artist himself to explain the direction of an upcoming project. The fact that there has been a six-month build up to this album speaks to Hip Hop’s changing landscape and the increased importance social media has in interacting with fans. But, with J. Cole, there were also other changes happening as he began work on his second album.

“We have like a responsibility and a certain power that comes with making the music and playing the music,” Cole told Billboard magaine at the 2013 American Music Awards. “And that comes with a responsibility to keep things fresh and not to fall into the mode of what’s traditional. I have singles that fall into that, but if I can use my power in some kind of way I’m gonna try to use it to shift culture just a little bit. And to me ‘Miss America’ shifts things a little bit, it changes the conversation it takes it in a more aggressive direction—more raw, more social commentary. Any type of commentary is good compared to what a normal single is these days. That’s my aim is to shift culture slightly, change the conversation...nobody expects that for your first single.”

The self-proclaimed “Young Simba” was always introspective. His references to Coretta Scott and Martin Luther King Jr. on “Sideline Story” as well as poignant commentary on abortion via “Lost Ones” showed potential. But this idea of social responsibility and—dare we say, consciousness—purposely breaks from the norm and represents an ideological shift. It’s important to note that Cole isn’t going full on Public Enemy here, and he recognizes his limitations. It’s almost as if he’s emphasizing the phrases “slightly” and “a little bit.” And this mild shift is occurring even as he’s still catering to mainstream radio (and most likely his label’s wishes) with “Power Trip.” That said, “Miss America” is new territory in that the incorporation of President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural speech, a possible shot at Mase and some Danilo Blandon/“Freeway” Ricky Ross-fueled references (“Fuck the man, Uncle Sam I won't sell your crack”) about how and why cocaine makes its way to poor ghetto neighborhoods are all calculated moves. Those lines speak to Cole’s aforementioned desire to “change the conversation.” And when he inevitably heads out on the Born Sinner press junket, he’ll have to answer some questions that hopefully add something to that conversation.

Grown Simba: J. Cole’s Friendly Rivalry With Kanye West

Maybe the bigger indication of how J. Cole views himself on his sophomore set comes from the project’s new release date of June 18. In another conversation with Billboard, Cole revealed that he purposely moved up his release date to directly compete with another Jay-Z pupil.

“I’m not going to sit [here]...I worked too hard to come a week later after Kanye West drops an amazing album,” Cole said. “It’d be like, ‘Oh and J.Cole dropped too, a week later.’ Nah. I’m going to go see him on that date. He’s the greatest. So it’s like, I’m a competitor by nature so it was instant, it wasn’t even a thought…at the same time, let's not forget this is Kanye West. He bats 100, 1,000, whatever the perfect is. His track record is flawless. I’m only expecting an incredible album from him.”

Perhaps more than any other point in his career, J. Cole is displaying they type of dichotomy and healthy contradiction that can at least lay the foundation for a great work of art. On one hand, he has released at least three (five if we’re being generous) albums worth of material in both retail and free form. His previous accomplishments lead him to believe he can stand toe to toe with Kanye West without taking an L like 50 Cent did in 2007 when Fif decided to square off in a first week sales battle with West. Yet, on the other hand, he still very much benefits from semi-autobiographical, high-school, varsity basketball player mythology that began on The Come Up. Despite being nearly 30-years-old, he still refers to himself in a youthful fashion on “Miss America,” rhyming the following:

“For my chain and my piece I should’ve won Nobel / Ill, boy you cold nigga, yeah I know nigga / Only young nigga do it better than the old niggas…”

But hey, his mentor, Jay-Z was damn near 40 and calling himself “Young Hov” so it’s all relative. Age and perception notwithstanding, Cole isn’t above taking some advice from his elders. After reportedly also being disappointed with “Work Out,” rumor has it that Nas chastised Cole, and the subject of disappointing a hero—one who made is own series of missteps, including “Owe Me Back”—finds its way onto Born Sinner. Add in a feature from TLC members Chilli and T-Boz, and you have the makings of an innovative project that can appeal to radio without compromising. Through an intensely loyal connection with his fans (both rabid and casual) and a calculated decision to balance his burgeoning social commentary agenda with the commercial success radio offers, J. Cole is priming himself for what could be the most important phase of his career. Needless to say, June 18 should prove very interesting.

Omar Burgess is a Long Beach, California native who has contributed to various magazines, newspapers and has been an editor at HipHopDX since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @OmarBurgess.

Advertisement

67 Comments

  • Sena Davoh

    You lot need to listen to J. Cole new stuff and really old stuff.People be juding Cole off Cole World and to be fair that wasn't one of his best. Listen to Purple Rain, listen to his new track, Lit. I know Born Sinner will be mad, he was probably disappointed with Cole World himself so he'll put everything into this just watch. Album of the Year: Born Sinner

  • J. Cole - Born Sinner

    1. Intro 2. Born Sinner (Produced by J. Cole) 3. Horns & a Halo (Produced by Boi-1da, co. Matthew Burnett) 4. Power Trip feat. Miguel (Produced by J. Cole) 5. Crooked Smile feat. TLC (Produced by No I.D.) 6. Broke Nigga with Money (Produced by J. Cole) 7. Close Your Eyes feat. Lauryn Hill (Produced by J. Cole) 8. Played by the Game (Produced by (Produced by Bink!) 9. Deja Vu (Produced by No I.D.) 10. Chaining Day feat. Amber Coffman (Produced by J. Cole, co. Canei Finch) 11. NC feat. Anthony Hamilton (Produced by No I.D.) 12. Found Souls (Produced by No I.D.) 13. Ransom (Produced by S1, co. Caleb) 14. The Message / The Money (Produced by J. Cole) 15. Obsessions (Produced by J. Cole, co. Canei Finch) 16. Born Saint (Produced by J. Cole) Deluxe Edition 17. Miss America (Produced by J. Cole) 18. Welcome to Sinville feat. B.J. the Chicago Kid (Produced by J. Cole, co. Canei Finch) 19. I Try (Produced by Bink!) 20. Jesus for a Day feat. Kendrick Lamar (Produced by J. Cole) 21. The Letter (Produced by J. Cole, co. Canei Finch)

  • Born Sinner

    1. Too Good an Introduction 2. Heaven's Stairwell 3. Born Sinner 4. Power Trip (feat. Miguel) 5. Further Away 6. Cry (feat. Melanie Fiona) 7. Dreamland (feat. TLC) 8. Voulez-Vous 9. Never Enough (feat. Frank Ocean) 10. Baccarat Crystals 11. Age, Aston Martins and Alcohol 12. Splits 13. Confessions (feat. Emeli Sande) 14. Pray (feat. Victoria Monet) 15. The Open Letter 16. All Shall Rise (feat. Rihanna) Deluxe Edition 17. Miss America 18. 39 Steps 19. Closure 20. Tiptoes 21. Dollar and A Dream IV

  • AlCOLEholic

    Born Sinner Tracklist!!!!!!!!! Dont Believe Me Just Watch!!! 1. Intro 2. Born Sinner 3. Horns & A Halo 4. Power Trip (Feat. Miguel) 5. Crooked Smile (Feat. TLC) 6. Broke Nigga With Money 7. Close Your Eyes (Feat. Lauryn Hill) 8. Played By The Game 9. Deja Vu 10. Chaining Day (Feat. Amber Coffman) 11. NC (Feat. Anthony Hamilton) 12. Found Souls 13. Ransom 14. The Message / The Money 15. Obesessions (Feat. Frank Ocean) 16. Born Saint 17. Miss America (Bonus) 18. TBA (Bonus) 19. TBA (Bonus) 20. TBA (Bonus) 21. TBA (Bonus)

  • Nasstill@it

    To me personally, I think Cole was doing well artistically up until he released Sideline Story. But recently there have benn flashes of inspiration on his music that propels me to have a little anticipation for his follow up album. I just hope after it is all said and done he can deliver an album that will redeem him as an artist, history remembers classic albums and not EPs and mixtapes.

  • Anonymous

    I just fucked inside my ass hole and it is full of fresh cum. MMMM!!

  • davida

    If you think Lisa`s story is something,, 4 weeks ago my boy frends sister basically brought in $5456 putting in a thirteen hour week an their house and they're best friend's mother-in-law`s neighbour done this for 3 months and got paid over $5456 in there spare time from their pc. the instructions at this website,...... Fox85 com

  • Willmatic

    Kanye will do 400/450k Cole will do 250/300k Mac Miller will do 150/200k Be a good day for hip-hop if they take the Top 3 spots.

  • stonecolestunner

    I want features from Jay, Nas & Luda pleeease

  • Marcus

    This will do 275-340K

  • Anonymous

    sorry this was boring

  • MacMiller to OutSell Ye&Cole

    June 18, a day hip-hop is anxiously awaiting like white women await the NFL draft. Its the day that "Yeezus" will give us his sixth begotten album to die for our materialistic sins. Its the day that J.Cole hopes we power trip to the nearest Best Buy and purchase his Born Sinner. And its the day that Mac Miller will outsell them ALL with his forthcoming album, Watching Movies with the Sound Off". Your eyes arent misleading, my thoughts are pure from intoxication, I soberly believe that Mac Miller will prevail in first week album sales above all. Wondering how I came to this conclusion? I dare you to deny the truth that hip-hop is the palace built for the underdogs. More miracles have happened in the house of Rakim than any other genre, and on June 18 wine will be turned into Patron, and Mac Miller will drop jaws by performing the feat that couldnt be accomplished by Curtis. Lets acknowledge the past sale successes Mac wowed the world in 2011 with his debut Blue Slide Park album. 145,000 copies sold first week, making it the first independently-distributed debut album to top the chart since Tha Dogg Pound's "Dogg Food" in 1995. Now even though 145,000 is miniscule compared to the other artist involved in this battle royal, you see that there is a loyalty amongst his fans that are prepared to purchase his music without question. This group has only expanded thanks to his latest venture with MTV 2 in the form of a reality television show that contains the spirit of past MTV series "Rob & Bigg" and HBO's "Entourage". Noted as the highest rated original debut season ever on MTV2, with each episode bringing in more viewers than the last, enough to renew it for a second season and proving again that Millers audience lives beyond the blogs, beyond Twitter, and continues to support unconditionally. Macs cult following isnt the sole reason that inspires my initiation; its his latest musical offsprings that truly turned me into a believer. The once frat rapper has shed the skin of his former self, no longer the White Khalfia or the goofy Donald Trump kid. His move to California and being in the presence of artists from Odd Future, Brain-feeder and TDE has seemed to escalate his rapping abilities. Every release in the last month has given birth to the idea that Mac Miller might actually be beyond the previously assumed mediocre. The progression is exciting; theres new ears anticipating what else he has in store that could be swayed to spend a Hamilton and some change. Singles like "SDS", produced by Flying Lotus, "Watching Movies", and Ab-Souls The End is Near are all examples of the growth. Hes crafting a pure rap album, one that wont be delivering a militant message, that wont bore us with the woes of dodging that hoe Sally Mae, and wont have any Def Poetry Jam session in-between tracks. To be upfront and honest, the winner of this rat race will be crowned before the Tuesday in question but once each album leaks. The fans will listen, mediocrity will be recycled while the brilliant purchased. What if Kanyes album is less than immaculate? What if J.Cole suffers from the sophomore jinx? What if Mac Miller gives fans and critics everything they found lacking on "Blue Slide Park". A raw rap album pleasing ears with incredible beats, monstrous features, and hilarious skits. Pharrell, Tyler the Creator, Diplo, Schoolboy Q, Action Bronson are confirmed for Macs forthcoming. We can pretend like we arent excited, but surely every indie, underground head has high hopes for this album, and that only could equal into an incredible amount of albums sold. On the belief that rap music can once again rattle the charts to its core, without a pop single or a mountain of controversy. Mac Miller is my pick for Soundscan's chart topper during the week of June 18. I'm calling it now (5/22/2013 at 1:05 AM): "Watching Movies with the Sound Off" will be Miller's second number one album. Don't believe me just watch...

  • Marquise Hudson

    J.cole will do around 150k to 200k first week. Remember J.cole has a strong following compared to these other seasonal rappers like Trinidad James and French Montana.

  • sl

    Very well written article. Written for anybody who passed grade 6 English.

  • Anonymous

    Why are they analyzing this? First week will probably be decent, but let's not forget he only went gold, which was good, but no way expectations are much higher this time around.

    • Anonymous

      the album recouped after the first week though...not many rappers are doing that nowadays...and 225k the first week is really good for a new artist

    • Anonymous

      "only went gold" this is funny cause usually i see people defending all these rappers that cant go platinum saying gold is the new standard

  • Anonymous

    he better hope he have some pop radio song cooked up for the females otherwise he gonna flop j cole got lucky last time

  • Anonymous

    this nigga j cole is like the poor mans drake

  • Anonymous

    Kendrick Lamars remix of UOENO Free Download Now @ www.bigblogtalk.com/songoftheday Submit your best song for a chance to get on our undiscovered talent page! Hip Hop and Entertainment site for everybody, with album reviews, videos, free songs, and more! Bigblogtalk.com/ Tell a friend

  • zeerax44

    Cole is one of the worst artists of this generation tbh, we don't need him anymore, we already have artists able to drop calssic albums

  • Anonymous

    People going off on a tangent about this article.I think born sinner will see cole give us what he should've given us on his debut.He seems to have found his feet in the industry.Apparently theres no rap features and a song about how he dissapointed nas. This sounds like a man sure-footed and wiil get to the introspective side of him thats served him well all along. Cant wait.

  • Smh

    You got shit twisted bruh. 1. How can you call Dreams a song for the women? Did you even listen? 2. The double meaning ou gave for Power Trip is wrong. It has a double meaning about the rap game and a girl. 3. How is 28 old? 4. Why is J. Cole the only rapper that gets shit on for repeating subject matter once in a while? Do you know how many times Ross raps about drugs and how many times Kendrick raps about Compton?

    • Stefan Restuccia

      I am pretty sure it is Lights Please which has the double meaning about a girl/hip hop. I think I have heard him say that in an interview before.

    • rapgenius

      According to J.Cole himself, there's a double meaning behind this song. It's not only about his love for a girl, but his love for hip-hop and how it's got him up all night with love songs trying to get that hit single. J Cole's official Facebook page has also said this is a continuation on Dreams off of Coles second tape, The Warm Up.

    • rapgenius

      J. Cole on "Power Trip" talking about "Dreams" "Had a thing for you, even wrote the song "Dreams" for you / Cause I had dreams for you, thoughts of a ring for you / Childish shit, you know child and shit" Hes referring to his song Dreams featuring Brandon Hines off The Warm Up mixtape. In the song, he rapped about how he would follow her, and how he would kill her boyfriend just to marry her. Power Trip is actually a continuation of this track. Along with the end of the line a child and shit Cole is talking about how he was naive and had childish dreams of marrying and having kids with the girl he was in love with.

  • Anonymous

    Lame article. Peace out.

  • Anonymous

    J. Cole was born in 85, two years older than kendrick and this bum ass writer thinks he is too old. fuck outta here.

  • Anonymous

    what kind of post is this. wait till the album comes out at least. the tlc and nas news came out yesterday and this dude rushed to write his crap. Omar burgstress u are a freak!!!

  • gay cole

    I cant wait for Born Sinner to flop....what's up with these "never done anything" artists thinkin they are hott shit, J. Cole has yet to prove to me he has flow and lyrics to match the greats, and he doesnt really compare to the new "class", i.e. kendrick, joey bada$$, flatbush, etc... I thnk he should just go back to sextapes....

    • Anonymous

      damn bro u need a drink or sumthin

    • stupid ass bitch hole

      Hey j.cole is the shit someone tell gay cole the bitch ass dick lovin racists ass mother fuckening hater to stop post on j.cole articles and go back to suckin drakes dick then eat all the shitty ass words and bull shit he posted then die U LAME ASS FAGGOT U DON'T STAY GONE FOR A YEAR AND A HALF PERFECTING YOUR RAPS AND LYRICS TO NOT GET BETTER, BUT OH I FORGOT THE NIGGA GAY COLE IS A RETARDED SPECIAL ED INTERNET TROLL WHO PROBABLY DOESN'T EVEN LISTEN TO J.COLE'S MUSIC TO KNOW HOW WELL OF A RAP ARTIST HE IS AND IS EVOLVING INTO MAN I TELL Y'ALL, SOME OF Y'ALL ARE COMPLETELY HOPELESS THE ARTISTS AREN'T THE REASON HIP HOP IS DIEING BIPOLAR BACKSTABBING HATING FANS ARE ONE DAY Y'ALL ALL OVER AN ARTIST TALK ABOUT HOW GREAT THEY ARE THEN THE NEXT DAY THEY ARE WACK AND NO LONGER HOT ANYMORE WTF MAN DON'T GET IT SOME Y'ALL ARE JUST FULL OF SHIT SO TAKE THAT CRAP TO THE TOILET AND GET YOUR HEADS OUT OF YOUR ASSES AND JUST LISTEN TO THE MUSIC AND LISTEN GOOD AND HARD TO THE BEAT, FLOW, AND LYRICS OF THE RAP ARTIST MATERIAL THEN U CAN JUDGE IT BUT UNTIL THEN DON'T SAY SHIT I MEAN U CAN IF U WANT I CANT STOP U FROM BEING HATERS BUT THE WAY Y'ALL RESPOND WITH THESE POINTLESS COMMENTS IS JUST LUDACRIS U MAKE BEING A J.COLE HATER SEEM STUPID AND DUMB LIKE U ARE UNEDUCATED, AND HAVE NO LIFE WHAT SO EVER LOL WOW THANKS Y'ALL FOR ALL THE STUPIDITY THATS WHY ROCK ARTISTS SELL MORE THAN YOUR FAVORITES LEARN YOUR MUSIC PLEASE AND THANKS, AND R.I.P TO THE HATERS THIS SUMMER HATING ON J.COLE THIS ALL YOUR FAULTS THAT J.COLE WILL HAVE ANOTHER EVEN BIGGER SUCCESSFUL ALBUM THIS YEAR THANK U, THANK U, THANK U Y'ALL ARE FAR TO KIND COLE WORLD BITCHESS GET USES TO IT

    • Anonymous

      hes guaranteed to sell more first week than french montana whos gonna be lucky if he sells 50k as projected. i think thats pretty good considering cole wont have 10% of the features or promo french had

    • Humz

      I don't really get why people say this stuff about J. Cole. I'm not the biggest fan, but he has it all as an artist. First and foremost, he raps well. He different song concepts and topics, and he produces too. And it's not like he's a mediocre producer either, his stuff is pretty cool and soulful. He also has the voice to boot... I like Kendrick Lamar a lot but his voice is very boring, J cole has a clear voice with very good pronunciation. Overall, he's just really consistent. I remember getting his whole discography and after a while, deciding that I should delete some not-so-great stuff of his to save space. In the end, I still had 60 of his songs. That averages 15 good songs per album/mixtape... Consistency.