Throughout his career, even as he has willed himself to reach higher artistic heights, he’s doggedly tried to remain tethered to the ground, relatability always being his main goal. You can see this tension in the self-deprecating titles of his first two albums, Cole World: The Sideline Story and Born Sinner. They paint Cole as the everyman who just so happened to be in the spotlight, spitting bars through his crooked smile. On his third album, 2014 Forest Hills Drive, he resolved the conflict between these two ambitions by fully embracing both. In the final verse of “Fire Squad” he immolates a crown and declares there will be no more kings in rap, every man an everyman. As he puts it during the outro: “Ain’t gonna be no more kings. Be wary of any man that claims, because deep down he clings onto the need for power. The reality, he’s a coward.”

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