J.Cole’s “Crooked Smile” For Power 106

J.Cole is currently on tour, but was recently out in L.A. and performed for Power 106′s Backstage Breakfast series at Universal Studios. In the interview with Big Boy, he discusses his album, collaborating with 50 Cent, TLC, his past crush on Alicia Keys and more. Born Sinner in stores June 18.

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  • Oz

    Born sinner was hell disappointing, his more intense on his mixtapes. He has those songs his way more aggressive like schizophrenic flow tarrets delivery with a matching beat (farewell, see world, 2 face,) those songs are much harder and darker then anything on born sinner. It’s not even dark , what is dark about this album besides the cover? The first half of the album is essentially the same song. There’s little of the deepness and complexity of monologue his best at instead it sounds like bad attempts at making drake records and double time flows which he needs to practice more. Between both his albums he only has like 4 album worthy songs (lost ones, nice watch, born sinner, let nas down) the rest is ehhhh thats 4 dope songs every 2 album average and that’s so…how does he throw away his best songs on mixtapes (rise above, head bussa, show me something,roll call) and then give us an album with nothing but fillers. This shit was like a movie with a really good trailer then you watch it and its like an m.night.s movie (terrrrrble) reviewers will dick ride this album like his last one and over rate an essentially generic product because j.coles such a likable dude [II] and we are rooting for him but man born sinner sucks

  • i will be very very glad if Cole outsell Kanye. He actually did the album and we see the improvement. favorite tracks: crooked smile, let Nas down and New York Times

  • Black Shady

    The album was definitely different than his older work. But it’s a good thing. Crooked Smile and Born Sinner (song) is classic J.Cole, but then he gives u songs like Villuminati, and She Knows and Forbidden Fruit…which is totally different.

    Make sure you cop a copie next tuesday. Imma cop for sure! #coleworld #bornsinner

  • Can you guys check out my new favorite up and coming artist HazeMunny’s latest video for his song Get Em. He’s most definitely one of the next to blow.

  • DaTruthWillSetYouFree

    @OZ REAL FUCKING TALK. PREACH. THIS ALBUM WAS LACKLUSTER AS HELL. J.Cole can’t live up to his own hype. Shame.

  • K.dot

    So I just finished Born Sinner and let me start here – if you don’t enjoy this album LISTEN AGAIN. This shit is incredible. I’m going to be completely honest, first listen I took the beginning of the album too literally & honestly wasn’t feeling it until the second half. Then I listened to the whole album again, really soaked in everything Cole was saying and realized the whole album is calculated. Every song is in a specific place for a reason.

    Born Sinner truly is a tale of a journey from a dark & doubtful depression to a realization of Cole’s full potential not only as an artist, but a human being.

    Villuminati – On the surface it may seem like just an incredible stunt record, but it’s more than that. Most of the lyrics are satirical and not meant to be taken literally. Cole’s pointing out how simple minded we can be at times as well as the hypocrisy in society.

    Kenny Sermon – This skit is hilarious lollll, I must say I wish Cole expanded more upon this theme.. There really are so many crooks making a living off and bringing pleasure to their own lives by preying on the weakness of others. These fools give those of us with a strong faith a bad name to.

    Land of the Snakes – Before I get into the lyrics, the way this track just sets you in a groove.. maaaann. To me, LOTS is kind of to Born Sinner what Backseat Freestyle is to GKMC. If you take the lyrics literally, a lot of the bars will seem a pretty simple minded lol. But, both Cole and Kendrick were painting a picture of what their mindset was at that given time. Cole seemed to have been completely consumed by material wealth and women.. He even addresses his relationship with God at the time (It probably went over a lot of heads though. “She said you ’bout to miss church while she ridin’ me, I said I like my sundaes (Sundays) with a cherry on top.” Seems like Cole’s only focus was sex and maintaining his wealthy position. This initiated his downward spiral. But by the end of the song Cole has a moment with a past flame that momentarily causes him to realize the error of his ways.. The way this leads in to Power Trip is pure GENIUS.

    Power Trip – The double meaning is a lot more clear now, this song has a lot more depth to me now. From what I can gather, Power Trip not only represents his feelings for his hometown sweetheart, but also his feelings for his home town in general and his position in the industry. This is the moment in the album where Cole starts to struggle between chasing material wealth vs staying true to himself. He realizes the flaws not only in this lifestyle that he’s living, but the entire concept of wealth.

    Mo Money – Cole’s depression seems to begin here, to me. It seems his new found consciousness of the bullshit around him fuels a lot of frustration. This song addresses damn near everything wrong with money.

    Trouble – Cole channels his anger towards society and all the issues within it. Cole seems like he was very introverted during this time and really just wasn’t fucking with anyone.. I feel like he might felt like he was owed something during this time, and that had a little bit to do with how irritated he was with everything around him.

    Runaway – This is an extension of the social commentary found on Mo Money and Trouble, but this time Cole’s a lot more introspective. He’s more concerned with his own flaws as well as the flaws (His people’s flaws in general) and what led to these problems.

    She Knows – This is probably the most self explanatory track on Born Sinner, but because of the references to tragic celebrity deaths I have a feeling that this song may have a double meaning pertaining to the music industry. Cole sings, “I can’t be what you want from me.. Got me up so high, trying to get a piece of that apple pie”. Personally, to me it sounds like he’s saying he can’t be what Melissa wants in him nor what the industry wants in him. He’s chasing that apple pie (Obvious meaning – sex, underlying meaning – the American Dream).

    Rich Niggaz – I don’t think Cole could have spelled out the darkest time of his depression than with this record. Retrospective and honest, Cole lets us know everything that’s led to his current mindset. The rain in the background and the moody instrumental really set a dark vibe.. Plus there’s a reference to suicide. This shit hit me pretty hard.

    Where’s Jermaine – This is the introduction to Cole’s journey to finding his way out of this depression he’s been in. Am I the only one that gets a Miseducation vibe from this interlude? It’s my favorite album of all time, so I immediately fell in love with this.

    Forbidden Fruit – Cole begins to regain his self-confidence and even though he has sexual desires, they’re not consuming him like before. Really dope concept and double meaning here as well.

    Chaining Day – This joint right here is pure fire. It adresses a lot of the same issues brought up earlier in the album, but the difference is Cole’s mindset. He’s accepted his position and chooses to enjoy it, he pokes a lot of fun on this record while still proving a couple valid points.

    Ain’t That Some Shit – The way this shit starts though lolllllll. To me this interlude just represents the fact that nobody’s perfect, we all have our moments where we get caught up in material things and that’s all good, as long as you’re not allowing it to consume you (as it did earlier on).

    Crooked Smile – This is the big moment where Cole finally accepts everything that makes him who he is. He doesn’t just love himself though, he pays it forward and uses his own new found confidence to inspire others. I also noticed that it shows the progression in Cole’s views on women. He completely respects them by the time the track ends. Just look at how he adresses them, first he does say bitches, but then uses the term girl and finally woman. Idk if that was intentional, but it was dope to me.

    Let Nas Down – This is kind of like Cole’s saying, “I’m in a far better place now, but there’s one more thing I have to get off my chest”. The song is an instant classic, so honest.. there’s nothing else to say – incredible.

    Born Sinner – Cole just stood in front of the entire church and told them his testimony. This is a testament of how far he’s come. To me, this is the most inspirational record on the album. Really makes you realize that you will slip up, you’re not perfect, but in the end you have your whole life to try until you finally get it right. Not gonna lie, I had a moment by the end of this song. When he started talking about his mom I was done. This is exactly where I am in my life right now.

  • Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  • london S

    To of all of you that really think that all Cole is rapping about is women & his life’s stuggle, kill yourselves. Before this album started to build hype, Cole through a **** ton extra for good reason. He thoroughly explained that Power Trip isn’t your average single. The concept behind Power Trip follows through in all of Born Sinner. The supposed woman that he’s talking about is the rap game or Hip-Hop in it’s essence. The “Power Trip” is his ascent to the Billboards and pop music from the tragedy that was Work Out. Cole explains this from the very beginning of the album with Villuminati and to end with the Born Sinner title track. There’s a reason why the chorus of the last song transitions into the intro. It represents Cole’s rebirth.

    “My nigga…I ain’t ever letting go. I ain’t ever letting you go again” – This line refers to his soul & how he gave it away to sell records. Essentially, it also segments into the rest of the story. The dark tone behind the production explains his anger towards the ignorant ass fans that claimed he sold his soul and also represents the beginning of the dark path he took for his power trip. The Kerney Sermon skit is simple in that it represents the trickery he fell for and that’s how he ended up in LA or the LAnd of the Snakes. Here he meets the chick that he thinks he doesn’t have to commit to and can **** at any time (Pop/Fame). He explains his fun, but along the line he meets back up with his old chick (Hip-Hop/True Love) and she tells him he ain’t **** cause he left her for a stupid, insignificant broad…Hence, the next song is Power Trip which should be self-explanatory.

    Mo Money is an interlude for a reason. Cole takes a break from the story and gets into social commentary by way of the experience he’s gained by being around Hov & the rich white men that gave life the dumb, lusty broad being fame. This point shows up again later in the album. Just listen to the damn song and it’ll begin to make sense. In the next song Trouble, he’s taking about the bad **** again & why he’s even back staring in her direction. “She like ‘Don’t you know this **** already? Nigga, ain’t you rich already?’ Yeah, but I got dumb as ****. Hanging ’round these rappers cause they dumb as ****.” – This refers to how strong the lust is and why he’s considering ****ing her again and it’s because making those dumb as records really does make you sell & feel good. But he catches himself, as he know this is ain’t the right choice by his gut. Had a nigga’s baby, little man don’t know. Mama, was a freak, got it in on the low. 12 years later when my song come on, he ask “Mama, did you **** J. Cole?” – The little mans is the future generation and the song is Work Out. The rest of the story in the song should make more sense after realizing this.

    The skit for Runaway is a metaphor to Cole and his relationship to Hip-Hop and then the other ****es as fame. When he alone, he vibes with it like no other. But when he’s around his friends, he loses his composure cause what’s poppin at that moment is being popular and getting ****es. He starts off further explaining his relationship with Hip-Hop but then…Oh ****, goddamn, I think the devil got his hands on me
    Stripper saying: “Baby, why don’t you throw these bands on me?” And I came to spend, she pop a molly let the mother****ing games begin
    I’m running… – Clever references to Juicy J’s song & Trinidad James’ song in that it’s hard to ignore the success that those songs had & he doesn’t wanna lose that chance. He’s in trouble cause it’s a hard choice to make. He’s holding on desperately to his wife at home though…the wife that’s been waiting for 10 yrs….It’s arguable, but Hip-Hop hasn’t been the same since 03-04′. That’s Cole reference to his wife’s “wait.”
    In the 3rd verse he gets back to the social commentary briefly and further explains the root of the lusty **** and how the white man created her just to tease the black man and essentially becoming a slave again by slaving away trying to make hit songs that eventually bring more money back to the white man which explains… – “Rich white man rule the nation still, only difference is we all slaves now. The chains still concealed in our thoughts.If I follow my heart to save myself, could I run away from 50 mill like Dave Chappelle?” She Knows is a song talking about the Hip-Hop chick..should be self-explanatory by now.

    There ya’ll go. I gave ya’ll the first half of the album…the “dark” side Cole has been referring to this whole time. Forbidden Fruit is where the shift takes place to the “light” or “good” and his move back into positivity. The rest of the album should follow through and make sense from here. Just stay in that mind set. I’m tired, but mostly tired of trying to explain this to most of ya’ll who won’t care. It won’t matter cause Cole already won. He made a great album and young ass ignants from KTT won’t affect the ultimate critical acclaim he’ll receive. Eventually, ya’ll haters will jump back on the bandwagon one way or another. If not in public, it will be in private. You can deny the heat that Cole served this summer.
    Clap for em’

  • Shaolin NY

    Born Sinner is album of the year so far. If you aren’t feelin it you aren’t listening.

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  • RRCoolJ

    Damn @OZ. You said all I felt about this album but wouldn’t dare say publicly. Once hip-hop fans crown you, their ears stop working. Hope he does well but this album doesn’t really match the hype it’s getting in my opinion.

  • Jax

    Cole World!!! The take over starts!

  • Truth23

    The people that don’t like Born Sinner usually don’t understand what J.Cole is talking about. For the few that don’t like Born Sinner I keep Hearing “why is he talking about women”. Did you ever hear about Rappers using double meaning when it comes to their music. On Born Sinner J.Cole is also using the relationship between him and women to describe is relationship with mainstream singles, his record label, social issues, his fans.

    I’m proud of J. Cole really step up to the plate and made a great album

  • Derek

    J. Cole you proved me wrong, I’m a believer. Born Sinner is great

  • BigRICK

    I like how J. Cole sound the same live as he does on the recording. Bro Born Sinner is dope too

  • bumpy johnson

    the album is really dope , thought otherwise at first listen , but listened it at full , the album is def better than the first one , good job wish him all the best …………………………

  • Tbh

    Borb Sinner is a dope album, if you don’t think so you’re either hating or just one of those stuck in the past ass niggas. Yes its different from his past work but how can he grow if you want him to do the same shit he’s already done ? You niggas who always bring up past records are the reason hip hop fans can’t be taken serious. Either you rock with Cole or not period. Stop being so dqmn hypocritcal and close minded. Cole delivered on Born Sinner and it shows his growth, lyric and production wise. Kdot & london gets it. Salute to those who actually LISTENED to the album with an open mind.

  • NaS

    What did I just sit through? And I did it for free…I feel like I should have gotten paid for that. If I wanted to hear an album full of emo music about dating I would be bumpin Taylor Swift or a Joe Budden mixtape. We need that heat son. Mo Money interlude was dope though.

    You let me down yet again. Bring that heat! You mad? Get mad.