Battle of the Debuts: Thank Me Later vs. Cole World: Sideline Story
Merry belated Cole World everyone. The day we’ve all been waiting for has finally come and we now have the answers we’ve been looking for in two simple words. Cole World.
J. Cole’s debut album has finally dropped and whether you listened to the leak, or stayed faithful like most true hip hop fans and I, I hope you all bought the album. Then there’s those select few who actually got to go to the listening party that I’m very jealous of (Shout out to @DJEricKidd.)
Now, I did a blog a few weeks back asking which album of 2011 you all were anticipating more: Take Care or Cole World. With the release of Cole World, I figured why not stir up some more controversy and give my opinion on which debut album I enjoyed more: Thank Me Later or Cole World.
Which album made me say “Wow” after first listen?
This is one of those questions that is not always the best way to determine which album is better, but CAN mean so if said the correct way. There’s the “Wow, that album was a piece of shit” and the “Wow, I just had an eargasm.” Not every album gets a “Wow” at all though. Sometimes it just takes more than one listen to truly enjoy it. Cole World: Sideline Story gave me the eargasm “Wow.” He gave us what we wanted. The lyrical, storytelling, deep rap that got us to become fans in the first place. Each track gave us something different and you could literally feel his words as he spits them.
Thank Me Later, on the other hand, didn’t “Wow” me, but I did enjoy it through my first listen. The most predominate thing you notice first time through TML is the overwhelming cast of features. You don’t want to get “bodied” on any track on your album, but I feel Jay-Z, Young Jeezy, and even Nicki stood out more in their features. I most definitely enjoyed the less “mainstream” songs like “Karaoke,” “Shut it Down,” and “The Resistance.” Drake even said himself that he didn’t feel like he was where he should be rapping-wise at that point in his career. Regardless, I did enjoy his ability to switch between his talents on this album.
Which album is more “played out” proof?
I don’t know about you guys, but I am VERY anti-what everybody else overplays. Something about a hip hop song that I love, getting played out and quoted in everybody’s status and tweets that irks me. That song immediately gets placed in the back burner until I can listen to it again without thinking “Damn, 50% of this songs lyrics was on my News Feed and Timeline yesterday.” With that being said, the popularity of Drake amongst EVERYBODY immediately makes TML a more “played out” album. I’m not hating on Drake by any means. It’s not his fault. He’s backed by the most popular artist in the business (didn’t say the best) over the last few years, Lil Wayne. Loved “Over,” “Fancy,” “Find your Love,” and “Up All Night” when I first heard them. After about a month I wanted nothing to do with the songs.
Cole World has only been out a few days. I realize this. But this album has the quotables for the true hip hop fans. Cole has an uncanny story-telling ability that reminds me of Nas. I heard someone say that “Lost Ones” is the modern day “Brenda’s Got a Baby” and I have got to agree. It tends to be “radio friendly” songs that get played out and I don’t see many of these songs hitting the radio. The easiness of the production also makes the songs easier to listen to over and over again. No beat is too “in your face.” The only songs that have that potential is “In the Morning” because it’s been out for a little while and the popularity of it, and “Mr Nice Watch” because it’s on the radio.
Overall, which album is better?
I’m a huge Drake fan. I’m a huge J. Cole fan. I anticipated each one of these albums the same. So my overall opinion has nothing to do with the amount I was let down. Just strictly who made the better album. I already explained the “wow” factor of the albums. But like I said, that doesn’t necessarily make or break the album. I know many people who listened to “Watch the Throne” the first time and were like “Huh?” but are now huge fans of the album. That’s how I was with TML. Once I realized it wasn’t going to be a “So Far Gone” part 2, it started to grow on me. I love the slow beginning and then unexpected verse on “Karaoke.” I love the “turn this shit up and party” feel from “Show Me a Good Time.” The meaning in the words and the slow flow of “Shut it Down” and how he exchanges a long verse with Hov on “Light Up.” It was overall a great debut.
Then you have Cole World: Sideline Story. Not that I expected anything less, but I WAS pleasantly surprised that I was “Wow’d” at first listen. The beats are soulful, the words are powerful, the delivery is passionate, and the selection was plentiful. 18 tracks! That’s feeding your fan base. I had mentioned in my previous blog (Take Care or Cole World) that I wasn’t to happy about tracks we’ve already had for a while being on the album. Changed my mind. “Lights Please” fits perfectly on this album and seems to never get old. Through the first few listens I’d have to say that “Nobody’s Perfect,” “Lost Ones” and “Breakdown” are my favorites. I give this album the slight nod over Thank Me Later. Although Drake’s album hit us with some great material, J. Cole fed hungry hip hop fans fiending for that insightful, in-depth lyricism that we need.
So, who do you think had the better debut: Thank Me Later or Cole World?
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