J. Cole’s Discography Ranked

It feels right on the 9th year anniversary of his iconic mixtape Friday Night Lights, that we rank all of Jermaine’s projects. In a decade where autotune and mumble rap has prospered, Cole has remained one of the artist dedicated to keeping lyrical and conscious rap alive while still maintaining commercial success. His projects display great range from starting as an artist rapping over iconic beats on mixtapes, to cracking into the mainstream and enduring trouble with fame, to then hard hitting beats with incredible flows on 2014. It doesn’t end there as he then transitioned to a more mellow style as he told the story of a man who struggled balancing family life with the streets, to then on his next album changing his sound completely from somber to more modern day trap like. The man produces, writes, and is a damn great feature that has made a case for one of the best artist this decade(he’s no. 2). So we’re going to rank all of his projects(minus the EP’s) and give our favorite track from each.

Fran’s Ranking

  1. 2014 Forrest Hills Drive(2014) – Fire Squad
  2. Born Sinner(2013) – Forbidden Fruit
  3. Friday Night Lights(2010) – Too Deep For the Intro
  4. KOD(2018) – Once an Addict(Interlude)
  5. 4 Your Eyez Only(2016) – 4 Your Eyez Only
  6. Cole World: The Sideline Story(2011) – Lost Ones
  7. The Warm Up(2009) – I Get Up
  8. The Come Up(2007) – Simba

Obviously I had to give 2014 the top nod, the guy went double platinum with no features. For real though it was his most complete project and I think that was Cole at his peak. Personally my favorite is probably Born Sinner which is why I put it second, but Friday Night Lights is one of the best mixtapes of the decade so it is definitely arguable. KOD is just above 4YEO because I felt the latter project had a few more skips, and plus KOD’s themes truly analyzed the problems that drugs and substance abuse have on the rap game which is pretty prevalent right now. Cole World was 6 just because he jacked a few songs off the mixtapes so it wasn’t all new material, and Mr. Nice Watch is Cole’s worst track ever hands down. The Warm Up was a great mixtape with many of my favorite Cole tracks, but as a whole it was a bit too long and has more skips than any of the albums above it. Lastly The Come Up is Cole at his most raw form, and he showed great promise but had a lot of room to grow which is why it ends off my list.

Joe’s Ranking

  1. 4 Your Eyez Only(2016) – 4 Your Eyez Only
  2. Friday Night Lights(2010) – Home for the Holidays
  3. Born Sinner(2013) – Born Sinner
  4. 2014 Forrest Hills Drive(2014) – 03′ Adolescence
  5. KOD(2018) – FRIENDS
  6. The Warm Up(2009) – I Get Up
  7. Cole World: The Sideline Story(2011) – Who Dat
  8. The Come Up(2007) – Homecoming

Coming from a HUGE Cole fan, i can see why many may disagree with the list I’ve put together above. Although 2014 is his most highly regarded album in the eyes of the community, 4YEO takes the top spot for me. 4YEO is tremendously underrated in my opinion, and was Coles first true display of a full conceptual album. Projects like FNL and 2014 are classics, allowing Cole to spill his verbal imagination onto these tracks. I ranked Born Sinner a bit higher than most would just out of a personal love i have for the project, having some of my favorite Cole tracks of all time (Born Sinner and Runaway). KOD was Coles second go at a project with a central theme, and although i think its a great project, it has lost some replay ability as time has passed.  Looking back on The Sideline Story i feel it has definitely solidified itself as Coles worst album. Since its release only a few songs have found their way into my rotation (Lights Please and Dollar and A Dream 2). Cole still has an absurdly underrated discography and i look forward to The Fall Off in 2020.

Published by Fran and Joe


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