J. Cole took the two-year anniversary of his Friday Night Lights mixtape as an opportunity to share the first single from his sophomore set, Born Sinner, a pageant-free banger called “Miss America.” The self-produced, PSA styled single begins with a sample of John F. Kennedy’s famous “Ask Not ” speech (a Kanye West sample, this is not) but quickly gives way to a hard grinding, drum-driven beat over which Cole charges aggressively. Throughout, he thoughtfully weighing his wide-ranging frustrations regarding the rap game, the New York Jets’ defense and America at large: “F*** the man, Uncle Sam / I won’t sell your crack / I won’t fight your wars / I won’t wear your hat.”
Near the end, as the beat begins to burn off, he slows to wonder, “Am I about dollars or am I about change?” A prescient thought coming from a rapper who’s made an interesting story of his struggle to balance commercial success and his more reflective lyricism. Sure he can’t have both, he chooses the later this round, beginning the song by boasting that “Cole World is just the tip of the iceberg” and mumbling as the song trails off that, “They’ll never play this s*** on the radio.”
Born Sinner is out January 28th, guess we’ll just have to wait and see then.
New Music: J. Cole “Miss America” [MissInfo]