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Cole World: The Sideline Story Image
Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 20 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 126 Ratings

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  • Summary: After making three successful mixtapes, the rapper releases his debut studio album featuring guest appearances from Drake, Missy Elliot, Jay-Z, and Trey Songz.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 20
  2. Negative: 0 out of 20
  1. He's worth the shot Jay couldn't resist giving him. But he's still not comfortable enough or clever enough.
  2. Sep 27, 2011
    80
    The story goes that Jay-Z told Cole he had his whole life to make his debut album. Cole may have taken that literally, but it was worth it.
  3. Sep 29, 2011
    80
    At times, the mid-tempo brooding gets a bit monotonous, but Cole is an engaging enough character to make this a solid debut.
  4. Sep 26, 2011
    70
    J. Cole's debut album has flaws just as others' rookie seasons did, but Cole World: Sideline Story definitely proves that he deserves a prominent spot on the team.
  5. Oct 13, 2011
    70
    Cole's flow is constantly on point and the production is frequently quite beautiful, making Cole World not quite the genre-defining release fans were anticipating but certainly a perfect transition for hip-hop from a scorching summer of bangers to the more introspective autumn.
  6. 70
    It's a few outstanding moments short of the masterpiece many fans were expecting, but it clarifies that Cole has officially arrived as a major player in rap--at last.
  7. Sep 26, 2011
    60
    Amply stocked with warmth and charisma, the only thing Cole World really wants for is the kind of out-of-the-park highlight that would pull the whole album together; as is, it shows off the scattered but considerable strengths of a talented rookie whose potential for long-term success is palpable.

See all 20 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 38 out of 41
  2. Negative: 2 out of 41
  1. Nov 15, 2011
    10
    Lyrically, this album is close to nothing that we've seen since Cole's last mixtape, 'Friday Night Lights.' For him to provide such insightfulLyrically, this album is close to nothing that we've seen since Cole's last mixtape, 'Friday Night Lights.' For him to provide such insightful lyrics at the same time as maintaining such a steady and strong production from Cole is something that hardly ever occurs. THIS is what hip-hop is about. Expand
  2. Nov 10, 2012
    10
    this album is incredible!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! j cole is one of the best lyricist in the game right now as well as one of the hottest rapper to!!!this album is incredible!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! j cole is one of the best lyricist in the game right now as well as one of the hottest rapper to!!! just can't stop listening to MR. NICE WATCH AND NOBODY'S PERFECT!!! A dope album for a dope artiste!!! Expand
  3. Sep 27, 2011
    10
    If you remove your expectations before popping your headphones in, you will be amazed by the profound lyricism and talent of J. Cole. If youIf you remove your expectations before popping your headphones in, you will be amazed by the profound lyricism and talent of J. Cole. If you came in expecting to be blown away, chances are you will also emerge in awe of Cole's skill. The more you can relate to his songs, the deeper the connection and the more profound the appreciation you will develop. I don't know what constitutes a classic, but I will definitely be playing this album 10 years from now, along with College Dropout and Late Registration. Hopefully Cole can be this generation's Kanye - without the arrogant demeanor. A+ Expand
  4. Jul 21, 2013
    9
    I really like this album, and I really like J. Cole. He is what rap music has been waiting for....for real, I can listen to it all the wayI really like this album, and I really like J. Cole. He is what rap music has been waiting for....for real, I can listen to it all the way through without skipping a song. That is when you know you've made a good album. Expand
  5. Mar 22, 2015
    8
    8.4/10....................................................................................................................................great debut.
  6. Sep 28, 2011
    8
    People looking for a good album with some meaningful lyrics should get this album because its perfect for you. If your like me and have been aPeople looking for a good album with some meaningful lyrics should get this album because its perfect for you. If your like me and have been a j cole fan for some time and have listened to most of his mixtapes then you may be slightly disappointed by this album, although that doesn't mean its not good, its just that it hasn't quite lived up to what i've come to expect from j cole. It is still one of the best rap albums out at the moment. The standout tracks for me would have to be the lost ones, mr nice watch, work out and A dollar and A dream III. Expand
  7. Jun 18, 2013
    0
    The only pro of this album is the fact I never have to go to a drug store again to get some nyquil. So the $10 I paid for this album will payThe only pro of this album is the fact I never have to go to a drug store again to get some nyquil. So the $10 I paid for this album will pay itself back. Expand

See all 41 User Reviews