October 26, 2011

"Cole World: The Sideline Story" by J. Cole

"Young Simba's been a lion from the start."

It has been a little over a month since I purchased J. Cole's debut album, "Cole World: The Sideline Story", and I have to say that it's probably one of the best investments that I have ever made in my life. All the tracks on this CD are classic. So classic that I have had the album on loop and repeat since September 27th when it was released. It is definitively top five in my list of favorite rap albums, but that list will be saved for a later date, if you're interested of course.

Now you may be asking yourself how any of this is related to The Lion King. How could a rap album be related to a children's movie at all? Well that is why you have me here to explain all of this to you.

Jermaine Lamarr Cole, better known simply as J. Cole, was the first rapper to be signed to Jay Z's label, Roc Nation. But before being signed to Roc Nation, J. Cole had released a trilogy of mix tapes showcasing his lyrical and production talent. (The Lion King, The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, and The Lion King 1 1/2 can be considered Disney's trilogy that showcases their golden age of animation) Those three mix tapes are titled "The Come Up", "The Warm Up", and "Friday Night Lights", that latter of which won BET's "Best Mix Tape" award in 2011. Well enough about J. Cole himself, if you're interested you could always download those mix tapes for free and dive into music you have never experienced before, let's move on to the "Simba Trilogy".

In two of his three mix tapes he included songs with "Simba" in their title. First with "Simba" off of "The Come Up", followed by "Grown Simba" off of "The Warm Up". "Return of Simba" was a single track that he released to his fans via Twitter and his personal site. You could see that the trilogy of songs progressed just as Simba himself progressed in The Lion King. I could go on breaking down and analyzing the songs for you, but then this post would become more music orientated, which is not what I was going for. Instead I'm just going to show snippets from each song so you could see the "Lion King" references that J. Cole made.

"Word on the streets is I'm the prince..., check the splenda
And I can't wait to be the king..., young Simba!"

"Grown Simba"
"Hold up now don't get it twisted, I ain't hating, do your thing
I was like a young Simba: couldn't wait to be the king"

"Return of Simba"
(The Intro of the song is a direct sample of when Mufasa gives the "everything the light touches" speech to Simba on top of Pride Rock)

"One day, Simba, the sun will set on my time here, and will rise with you as the new king."

"(Woo!) That boy Simba crazy
Hotter than Ike Turner temper, you December, maybe"

And there you have it! Hope that you enjoyed this read, even though you may not be a fan at all of rap and hip-hop music. If you're interested in winning a free copy of "Cole World: The Sideline Story" then just leave a comment on this blog and spread the link to all your friends! I have an extra copy in my closet that is still sealed that I planned on giving away once I had things to say about the artist, and I feel like now is the right time. Cole World, you have just been ChrisCrossed!


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  2. Its not so easy to find quality hip hop these days that has made it to mainstream success, but by some miracle, J. Cole has been able to breach that barrier and make the transition from mixtape rapper to mainstream artist. The Dollar and a Dream kid has been on his grind, and it looks like its about to pay off with Cole World: The Sideline Story.