As a member of the Roc Nation and under Jay-Z’s label, it is no wonder that J. Cole was recently named one of Forbes “30 Under 30” young and ambitious stars in 2014. J. Cole was the first signing at Roc Nation, and has made quite a reputation for himself in the hip-hop and rap scene. His second album, Born Sinner, debuted in the number two position on the charts, and quickly sold well…even giving Kanye West’s Yeezus a run for its money. However, there are a few things that just don’t sit right with the marketing choices of the 28-year-old.
Popularity for the hip hop artist just continues to grow. While under the umbrella of Jay-Z’s Roc Nation ‘family,’ J. Cole received a nomination for Best New Artist at the 54th Grammy Awards. When his album ‘Born Sinner’ was released in June of 2013, it debuted in the number two spot on Billboard 200. Later on, the success of the album elevated it to number one on the chart. J. Cole is also currently grossing quite a bit of money while on his own world tour, which is making stops in Canada, Washington, DC, New York City, and London.
The marketing of ‘Born Sinner’ obviously opens up the doors for a great deal of interpretation, but J.Cole leaves nothing to the imagination with his choice in cover art. Already, his album has been criticized for embracing Satanic imagery and serving as a false gospel. The rapper has gone on to say that the cover for the album (pictured above) does not have any spiritual meaning. However, there’s a clear image of a ‘Devil’ like character, and the album is titled, ‘Born Sinner.’
On vladtv.com, Cole spoke on the meaning behind the album title and concept, stating, “It’s not necessarily a church theme and it’s not really about church. I like my album themes to be metaphors because it gives me the freedom to speak about something else that’s going on in my life, so the Born Sinner thing is not about church, it’s not even about religion. It’s using that as canvas to get other messages across and that’s what the album will be.”
If this is true (that he’s not trying to make a religious statement), then the artwork shown below is quite problematic. J. Cole is seen cradling a skull in one of his hands as he wears a ‘Jesus piece’ hanging from his chain. In the corner, we see the ‘Born Sinner’ title written inside of a Devil head with horns.
Further artwork associated with the album continues to raise questions, such as this close-up of a hand which seems to be displaying a Satanic hand gesture. There is no doubt that J. Cole is consistently sending out mixed religious messages through his music.
And Most Recently….
When bringing in the New Year, J. Cole partied where else? Las Vegas (Sin City itself…), and he even had a cake to commemorate his ‘Born Sinner’ album success at 1 OAK. If you take a look at the design of the cake, you will find some rather interesting and very familiar symbolism – it’s the well-known checkerboard design often associated with secret societies, such as the Freemasons.