Born Sinner - J. Cole
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 253 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 51 out of 253

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  1. Jun 17, 2013
    Amazing album. Huge step up from his debut album Cole World: The Sideline Story, production and lyric wise. Best HIP HOP album dropping on June 18th. Support the man!
  2. N10
    Jun 18, 2013
    I don't really have much too write about this album. Cause clearly people hate on Cole's beautiful and darker sophmore project just for the sake of Kanye West's Yeezus. Sad to see how people instantly throw words around before they even heared it. If so I would gladly listen to your opinions. In my opinion when it comes to the lyrics, Born Sinner is the winner of the two by far, on Yeezus it felt kinda lazy with it but he sure had his moments at times. Not Ye's best tough. Production wise Yeezus has more flavour to it, more harder bass and production. Either you love the production of Yeezus or you simply dislike it. I'm a huge Kanye fan but to me the lyrics didn't to me or the production really well. Yeezus is good, great in it's first five tracks. And Black Skinhead is so far one of the year's best with New Slaves. Born Sinner.. too me, is fantastic. He's rhymes are really well put-together and he's flow switches up good and dosen't get boring. 18th June is a great day in Hip Hop. Let's welcome "the newer" faces, if J. Cole's albums are as good as this one at least then he sure is going to do ous well in the future. Expand
  3. Jun 18, 2013
    J Cole's new album is a very mellow one. I thought it would be boring, but this is a mellow album done right! Lyrically, Born Sinner is even better than Yeezus and Watching Tv With the Sound Off, but for the production Yeezus AND Watching Tv were better.

    Production: 7/10
    Lyrics: 9/10
    Final: 8/10
  4. Jun 17, 2013
    Had huge hopes for this Cd. So many mixtapes and features on tracks and killed it. However, maybe I built it up in my head a bit cuz it wasn't one of my favorites this year. Seems to me most of his songs had similair references and topics. It almost created a "mood" which wasn't something I'd play to bob my head to feel it. I found myself listening to the lyrics-which is good. But not when the same things come up. Expand
  5. Jun 18, 2013
    This album is a giant step up from Coleworld and the theme of heaven & hell comes across great. Standouts on the album are 'forbidden fruit' 'she knows' and 'villuminati'
  6. Jun 18, 2013
    This is a great album, dope lyrics and production with a cohesive concept behind the whole project. What I'm trying to figure out is how people on here are saying this is a solid album but didn't live up to the hype then rate it a 0/10.... TFOH. Dont let the Kanye stans turn you away, this album is worth buying especially with the type of music being released these days.
  7. Jun 18, 2013
    Great solid album. J.Cole has shown great production skills and has even emerged to be one of the best contenders of the rap game lyrically too. This is the album that J.Cole should be making and this gives Yeezus stiff competition. There is not one bad song on the entire album and even the deluxe edition songs are great.
  8. Jun 17, 2013
    Cole rally came strong on this album. The album starts off with absolute fire with Villuminati the way Cole makes fun of the whole concept is brilliant. Things just get better -Power Trip is amazing, She Knows is good, Let Nas Down, Crooked Smile & Mo Money are all very good. The only song I don't really care for is Chaining Day...just not much to it. The Deluxe edition has two amazing songs the previously released Miss America and NY Times (ft. 50 cent). If you're going to buy an album this week, this is the one to get. ColeWorld Expand
  9. Jun 19, 2013
    The same old music from J Cole. The same old. Nothing new here folks. Sorry but this album is trashy. It seems like the songs are left over from the sideline time maybe?
  10. Jun 17, 2013
    Cole goes IN and his production game is on point, best album i've heard in quite a while, every song blends production, flow, and lyrics so perfectly it's hard to think of any way to make this album better
  11. Jun 17, 2013
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This album shows J. Cole's growth as a producer, and storyteller, and with that you have Born Sinner. The overall dark tone of production and lyrics in the first half of the album, "She Knows" is the only song that isn't really a highlight of the first half, but is still a fairly enjoyable song at that. The darkness in the first half is offset by the lighter second half, starting with the "Where's Jermaine" skit that leads into the long awaited Kendrick Lamar collaboration "Forbidden Fruit", which is a very high set highlight of the album, I could see this as the third single. "Chaining Day" sounds like a song that was ultimately left off of "The 20/20 Experience", which isn't necessarily a bad thing given it gives vibes of Timbaland production, with mellow lyrics. Then you have Crooked Smile, the uplifting collaboration with TLC. This song should do very well on the billboard charts, it has all of the tools to do so. "Let Nas Down" is a highlight all in itself. Cole describes how he let his childhood idol down by "selling out" and making "Workout". The title track "Born Sinner" ends the album on a high note, only to introduce you back to "Villuminati" with it's Choir ending that goes right into the introduction of the album. The album overall to me is a strong 8- light 9, which is a complete step of from the mess that was "Cole World: The Sideline Story". Expand
  12. Jun 17, 2013
    Very good album from Cole here and certainly a LARGE step up from his debut, Cole World: The Sideline Story, which was more of a 6 or 7 out of 10. This, however, is more like his mixtapes, which is exactly what fans like myself wanted. Tons of emphasis on the lyrics and Cole certainly went hard here with less corny lines than on Cole World. The main criticism I've heard of the album is the production, but I tell ya, I'm not really seeing it. The production wasn't extraordinary, but it was far from being bad enough to take away from the album at all. Not as good as Yeezus, but very good in its own right. Expand
  13. Jun 17, 2013
    Production was topnotch. Storytelling was incredible. Cole's flow and bars were very impressive. Nice to have an album you can play through the end and not want to skip songs. major improvement from Cole World. Cole really delivers.
  14. VOL
    Jun 17, 2013
    Cole's honesty and master storytelling throughout Born Sinner is something worthy of praise in itself. Each song serves it's purpose in allowing you into his world as he struggles to navigate through a corrupt society in hopes of finding himself.

    LAnd of the Snakes, Runaway, Rich N*ggaz, Forbidden Fruit, Crooked Smile, Let Nas Down and the album's title track are the milestones of this

    In the end Cole revels in the realization that self-fulfillment trumps any material gain, creating a truly inspirational tale. By the album's end Cole's triumph will resonate with any reader that has ever had to do any soul searching.
  15. Jun 18, 2013
    A vast improvement from his inconsistent, lukewarm debut. Cole starts off with vengeance with a spit-fire flow on Villuminati. The album covers the topics of lust, corruption, temptation, how deceitful/shady people can be, and staying true to yourself with new found fame and money. The production is definitely top notch throughout the album.
  16. Jun 18, 2013
    Album is incredible. Not one bad song on it and the production is out of this world. Only downside is that the lyrics aren't up to par with previous projects however, some lyrics made me rewind and think OH
  17. Jun 18, 2013
    Great album, incredible. Cole once again delivered with stories, concepts and incredible production which is his best to date. To fully appreciate and understand the album you gotta listen from start to finish to feel the duality of it, darkness to hapiness. Don't know if it will win in sales against Ye, but surely in quality THE BEST ALBUM THAT CAME OUT ON June 18th, and possibly this year. If you want that real, you gonna cop this. Support the real music!!! Expand
  18. Jun 18, 2013
    JCN, stand up!

    Hug improvement from his first album. Upgraded flow, production and hooks. Cole World!

  19. Jun 18, 2013
    Born Sinner is a solid album overall, plenty of replay value, especially from tracks that don't necessarily stand out. I've never heard anything like 'Let Nas Down' before, and it's testament to Cole's sincerity, most rappers won't open themselfs up like that. It's the one track that really blew my mind on BS.
  20. Jun 18, 2013
    This is the best album of the year. The production is good and the lyricism is awesome. This is what a hip hop album should sound like. good job cole.
  21. Jun 23, 2013
    I'm as big of a J. Cole fan as there is and after a few listens to this album I can't help but feel that some of the magic was lost from the original/past mix tapes. He seems to be in a dark place right now and while in some songs it translated well, others it didn't. Listen to this if you enjoy real hip-hop because there are some classics on this album you don't want to miss.
  22. Jun 17, 2013
    Great album. Really surprised me of how much Cole has evolved in such little time, he crafted this album almost perfectly. It's good to hear and album with more than just one or two good songs, minimum fillers makes a big difference.
  23. Jun 17, 2013
    This album is a big step forward from cole world. What I appreciate about cole is that he puts an equal or even more emphasis on producing his own songs. And he has turned out to be a damn good producer. His bars and rhymes also deserve equal acclaim. Best tracks; Rich N***z, She Knows, Power Trip, Let Nas Down
  24. Jun 17, 2013
    A great album in which you see a huge step forward in production. J. Cole is a great artist and this improvement in his production is what makes Born Sinner so great.
  25. Jun 18, 2013
    Born Sinner is Amazing. Much better than Yeezus or mac millers album. Cole>Kanye>Mac Miller. Also Cole Haters and Kanye Stans suck. Lol. Can't accept the fact Cole made a better album.
  26. Jun 18, 2013
    Best i ever heard, Cole is like a god, he shows the path in life, genius like a penius u know crazy wordplay yeaaaaa dip sip lip hahahahahahaahahahah
  27. Jun 18, 2013
    J. Cole preaches his personal life and battle between good and evil with excellent lyricism, and excellent production. Cole shows his evolution as a rapper, producer, and most importantly as an artist. This is the best rap album since good kid, m.A.A.d city, and will likely be the best album we see this year
  28. Jun 18, 2013
    J. Cole showcases growth both as a rapper and producer in his sophomore album....

    Full review of J. Cole's 'Born Sinner' here:
  29. Jun 18, 2013
    Critics do not know what make a great hip hop album. They know what SHOULD make the charts, what formula to create mainstream success, but not what touches the heart of listeners, what brings in core fans. J Cole talked about this in his album and it went straight over critic's heads. Just for the honesty and intricate storytelling and insight into his life, in a materialistic Hip Hop world we live in today, J Cole deserves a 10. Mainstream music needs more artists like this. Kendrick Lamar and J Cole are the faces of the new age of Hip Hop. Expand
  30. Jun 18, 2013
    This album could easily become 2013's best Hip-Hop album but there's more to come. This album is much more improved if compared to his debut album, Cole World: The Sideline Story. The album's title was inspired by a verse in The Notorious B.I.G's song ''Juicy'', the verse is ''Born Sinner, Opposite of Winner''. The song is featured as a sample in the first track on the album ''Villuminati'', which is one of the best tracks in the album. There is some 2Pac and Notorious B.I.G in the album as well as some Jay-Z inspiration. The album had only 1 track I really disliked. The rest are amazing and some are good. Although I wish the album had some more collaborations with other rappers. J.Cole produced all of the songs in the album and had people co-produce in 2 tracks. The production is good in the album. But overall I felt some tracks like ''Chaining Day'' had not so good production which made the song sound not as good as it could have been. This album is easily better than Kanye West's Yeezus.

    OVERALL: The album is AMAZING. I think J.Cole really took his time making this album and made some big lyricism and some production improvements. This album is definitely worth the price. I would highly recommend picking up the Deluxe Version as it makes the album even better for $13,99 on iTunes or you can go pick up physical copy in stores.

Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. Jul 15, 2013
    He’s certainly impressed with his flow, delivery and production, and while he hasn’t released the next golden hip hop album he’s coming close.
  2. Jul 9, 2013
    There are some solid points buried deep down in the wreckage of Cole’s seven-bar pileup, but you’ll have to sift through a great, big, ambivalent pile of solecisms in order to get to them. As it turns out, that holds true for the vast majority of Born Sinner.
  3. Three years after his album should have put the "sideline" comments to rest, Cole’s still studying the traditional playbook from the bench, preferring to follow Nas’ bible than strike out on his own.