June 17th, 2013 3:21am

Love Come And Go

J. Cole “Forbidden Fruit”

I was going back and forth on whether or not it was genius or foolish for J. Cole to deliberately release his second album on the same day as Kanye’s Yeezus, but I think I’ve settled on the former. Born Sinner is nowhere in the same league as Yeezus, but it’s still very good, particularly as counter-programming. Cole’s aesthetic is much closer to where Kanye was where he started out, and he could benefit from feeling safe and familiar in the way that Coldplay’s career surged when Radiohead went off to do Kid A, and there were still millions of people who just wanted to hear more “Fake Plastic Trees.” So there’s that, but there’s also something to be said for Cole forcing himself into the conversation, and forcing the audience to reckon with him as a rapper/producer who could become a Kanye-like auteur. There’s definitely some brilliant tracks on Born Sinner, and while Cole is just a pretty-good rapper, he’s got a great ear for samples and tasteful, mid-tempo production.

Buy it from Amazon.

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