Rappers be warned: J. Cole is back. And he’s angry.

Miss America

J. Cole

His debut album, by no means bad, was nonetheless deemed a disappointment for people expecting a second Illmatic. To make matters worse, Drake and Kendrick Lamar ­— Cole’s equally talented contemporaries with whom he is most often compared — released two near classics in the forms of Take Care and Good Kid, m.A.A.d City, respectively.

Suddenly, for the first time in years, J. Cole was the underdog again. He had something to prove.

“Miss America,” the lead single off his upcoming album Born Sinner, is a true return to form. Over a haunting self-produced beat, Cole tears into American society, materialism, the church and the current state of rap, all while reminding listeners and rappers alike that he is still a force to be reckoned with.

“Miss America” is hopefully a sign that Born Sinner can repent for the sins of its predecessor.

“They’ll never play this shit on the radio,” he murmurs at the end of the track, and it’s true. But Cole is done aiming for radio play. This time around, he’s aiming for the crown.

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