J. Cole has to be one of the most successful rapper out at the moment, with 2014 Forest Hills Drive being the first rap album to go platinum without any features I think it shows just how far he has come as a rapper, and how he has found his way into becoming one of my favourite artists. J. Cole has come under criticism for being 'corny' and 'boring' but these are only coming from people whom think Young Thug is real hip-hop and they just aren't accurate descriptions of J. Cole's music at all. To start of the top 20 list I must use the ruling to only include studio albums, therefore removing compilations, mixtapes and features. Only songs off Cole World: The Sideline Story, Born Sinner aand 2014 Forest Hills Drive will be included, to get us under way at number 20:
Hello is just one of those songs where you expect it to pick up, yet it never really gets going. However, the oversense of emotion in this song and the simplistic beat really adds towards the song, not to mention that Cole's singing really seems heartfelt and therefore this song beats all other songs in Cole's discography, except the following 19.
Trouble is a nice heartfelt song from Cole and is terribly underrated on Born Sinner mainly because the album does trail off at times and the songs start to fade into one. But this song stands out for me because it shows aalot more lyricism and some decent singing from Cole. It's a better song than it's ever given credit for.
18. Lights Please
A catchy song, albeit slightly repetitive at times. When the chorus kicks in, you can't help but sing along, it's absolutely impossible. Cole's verses are slightly weak, much like the rest of Cole World: The Sideline Story. However, arguably one of the better songs on the album because of the fact that it is so catchy.
Much the same reasons as Trouble but with a more fluid feel to the song and with better placement on the album. The song has some really good singing even though Cole is flawed at singing at times which means that at points his voice comes across a little croaky and he probably should have used a little more auto tune on this song just to make it seem even better.
16. Work Out
Cole has publicly disowned this song, I think mainly because it largely seen as him 'selling out' which he touched upon on the cringey 'Let Nas Down'. But this song is ultimately what shot Cole to stardom and it honestly isn't that bad, it samples the end of Kanye's Workout Plan which actually works better than it sounds. The song is your typical trashy rap song, but at the end of the day it is actually quite decent.
15. Love Yourz
This song does come across as quite ungrateful of his success and fame, but if you can look past and see the message that nothing matters more than friends and family, and money doesn't actually equate to happiness no matter how much you have, the song is simplistic and not in anyway heavy. The line 'no such thing as a life that's better than yours' still gets caught in my head sometimes, a quite powerful song, but I feel that J. Cole doesn't fully emphasise his point.
14. January 28th
J. Cole shares his birthday with Rakim, who knew? well apparently not enough people because Cole had to make a full song about it. But honestly, this song is a banger and it's a great way to start to get into the album rather than go straight in with heavy messages. This song is mainly so high up the list because on Forest Hills Drive Live he performs it so well, and honestly, I probably prefer that version but it gave me a new found love for the song.
13. Can't Get Enough
Another typical rap song that isn't the same as the rest of Cole's discography. Cole World isn't a great album but the singles on it are on point. One thing about this song is that it has no real message or anything, it just makes great easy-listening music because it just has such a laid back beat and none of the song is too heavy, definitely one of my favourites on Cole World.
12. Forbidden Fruit
Cole and Kendrick. This song was meant to have been the greatest new-school MC's coming together to attempt to out spit each other. Instead, Kendrick sings the hook in the weird singing voice he does (It isn't actually that bad) but no verse and then weaker verses from Cole compared to other songs mean that this is still a half decent song but if the album they are planning on releasing together is anything like this it will be a recycle bin classic.
11. Nobody's Perfect
Missy Elliot makes a sporadic appearance on this but she only sings the hook and does a really good job of it, it also has a better subject matter than 90% of the songs on Cole World (Mr. Nice Watch springs to mind) but I love the fact that Cole employs a different feature instead of the standard 'Trey Songz' feature (See No. 13).