On the same week that an impressive mural of his likeness was painted in Fayetteville, North Carolina, J. Cole enjoyed the anniversary of his major-label debut album Cole World: The Sideline Story. Yesterday, nine years ago to the day, Cole stepped up from a promising mixtape rapper and drove to excel with his next step toward the big leagues. And while the album was not quite what some expected, it did feature plenty of highlight moments from the young emcee, who made sure to set things off with a bang on "Dollar & A Dream III."
It's a wonder how a song with a fart-centric punchline can otherwise retain such elegance. Over a classy orchestral beat, Cole delivers nearly five-minutes worth of bars, proving his lyrical prowess with an emphatic statement. "Scattered thoughts, dark secrets lead me to a blacker heart," he spits, setting up a dybamic rhyme scheme. "Life can't get any worse, Stevie with his glasses off, cause I still don't see hope, lookin' for a quick fix / when everyone I see is broke, get lost in weed smoke."
Of course, Cole has since gone on to deliver greatness, and in some ways, Cole World has been forgotten in sight of the bigger picture. Yet there's something refreshing about revisiting a legend's debut and catching glimpses of the accomplished artist that J. Cole would one day become. Happy anniversary to Cole World: The Sideline Story.
Cole, walk with a n***a, I give you my pain
So much on my mind, I wonder how it fit in my brain
Scattered thoughts, dark secrets lead me to a blacker heart
Life can't get any worse, Stevie with his glasses off
Cause I still don't see hope, lookin' for a quick fix
When everyone I see is broke, get lost in weed smoke