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by Andrew Sacher
J. Cole was a pretty exciting rapper around the time of his Friday Night Lights mixtape, but that excitement died down a bit when his debut album for Roc Nation, Cole World proved to be mostly mediocre. Still, something about Cole makes you want to root for him, and that's stirred the excitement up again for his second official album, Born Sinner (due out June 18). The album's not an instant classic, but it's a much better and more consistent release than its predecessor.
The guest spots feel carefully chosen, the only ones coming from Miguel, Kendrick Lamar, Dirty Projector Amber Coffman, the two surviving members of the recently-reunited TLC, and Justin Timberlake's songwriting partner James Fauntleroy. But even with major names like those, the guest appearances always tend to take a backseat to Cole, who really runs the show (he wrote and produced almost the entire thing himself). Unfortunately, that does cause it to get a little one-dimensional at times, but when Cole is on ("Power Trip" and the title track are early highlights), he's making some pretty impressive music. Stream the album in its entirety, along with the "Power Trip" video, below.
Cole will be celebrating the album with his Dollar & A Dream tour, which begins in Miami tonight (6/11). For that tour, he'll be hitting 11 cities and each show only costs $1 to get in. The catch is that the venue won't be announced until the day of the show via J. Cole's twitter, and there's no advance tickets. You have to pay admission at the door, first come, first serve. The tour hits NYC on June 19.
You'll also be able to catch Cole at a NYC show that you can get advance tickets to when he plays Warm Up at MoMA PS1 on August 17. That show includes other rappers, Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire and World's Fair, in addition to producers King Britt (Hyperdub), Bangladesh and Darq E Freaker. Tickets for that show are on sale now.
All dates are listed, along with the video and album stream, below...
J. Cole - "Power Trip" (feat. Miguel) Official Video
J. Cole - Born Sinner Full Album Stream
J. Cole -- 2013 Tour Dates
June 11 - Miami, FL
June 12 - Atlanta, GA
June 13 - Baltimore, MD
June 14 - Boston, MA
June 19 - New York, NY
June 20 - Washington, D.C.
June 21 - Philadelphia, PA
June 23 - Chicago, IL
June 24 - Houston, TX
June 25 - Detroit, MI
June 26 - Toronto, ON
August 17 - Long Island City, NY - Warm Up @ MoMA PS1