Cole World: The Sideline Story

B+
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September 22, 2011 at 04:00 AM EDT

Bigger names in hip-hop have released albums this year, but few trump this debut. Cole, who’s been studying under label head Jay-Z for two years, seems to have learned plenty. Cole World: The Sideline Story is a well-rounded effort, and deeper than most, offering cuts that tackle unplanned pregnancy (”Lost Ones”) and uncertain love (”Nobody’s Perfect”). ”It’s your time,” Jay skillfully says to him on the gaudy, dubstep-tinged ”Mr. Nice Watch.” Cole’s making the best of it. B+

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Cole World: The Sideline Story

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Cole World: The Sideline Story

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