J. Cole & TLC’s “Crooked Smile”: Hear The Rapper’s Collaboration With T-Boz And Chilli

Carl Williott | June 3, 2013 9:44 am

There are many intriguing things about J. Cole‘s forthcoming Born Sinner — Cole’s role as primary producer, the lack of guest MCs, the June 18 face-off with Kanye West — but perhaps the most intriguing bit was the announced collaboration with TLC‘s surviving members. And now Cole has unveiled the track featuring T-Boz and Chilli, called “Crooked Smile.” The title (and artwork) serves as a literal manifestation of the song’s message that authenticity, not perfection, is beauty. In the opening verse, Cole raps, “They tell me I should fix my grill cuz I got money now…I keep my twisted grill just to show the kids it’s real.”

It’s an uplifting track, with a distinctly turn-of-the-millennium hip-hop vibe — not just because of TLC’s familiar presence. The bright pianos and ascendant keyboards bring to mind a slowed-down hybrid of  “Still Not A Player” and “I Really Like It.” Also, this song joins Yeah Yeah Yeahs‘ “Sacrilege” in the “was not expecting that choir at the end” file.

Hear the new track below.

Did TLC get a worthy return on J. Cole’s track? Tell us what you think below, or hit us up on Facebook and Twitter!

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