There is a religious undercurrent in hip-hop at the moment and with Kanye West's Yeezus being routinely praised by critics since it's release earlier this week (June 18) amidst a series of distractions in the rapper's life, there could be another stumbling block in the launch path of Kanye's new album in the shape of J Cole's sophomore album; Born Sinner.

Like Kanye's sixth album, Born Sinner is being released to a strong critical reception, with some critics even going on to claim it is (gasp) better that Yeezus. Whilst Kanye's album is more bombastic and industrial sounding, Born Sinner is overall a much darker and personal album and rather than than miss the mark Cole manages to produce a mature and rewarding follow-up to his Roc Nation debut Cole World: The Sideline Story.

Watch the video for 'Power Trip' (Explicit)

"The first words Cole utters are an adlib: ‘It's way darker this time.’ Spoiler: The rest of the album definitely lives up to that. But Cole is also more confident than ever,” Billboard’s Alex Gale noted in their review, with MTV's Nadeska Alexis praising the "evolution" of Cole's production sound, which is complemented wonderfully with his "‘god flow.’"

Unsurprsingly, sharing a release date with Yeezy has prompted many critics to compares the two, with the Billboard write-up commenting that the album features a number of "old-school Kanye flourish," whilst the Los Angeles Times' August Brown notes “J. Cole's Born Sinner is at the other end of the universe from Kanye West'slatest -- a quieter, self-examining rap record that's short on audacity but long on workman-like singles.”

If you head over to Cole's website - - you can hear the full 16-track album, complete with features from the likes of Miguel, Kendrick Lamar, TLC and James Fauntleroy. The album hits stores Monday 18 June.

J Cole Wango Tango
Cole's new album is being routinely praised by critics.

J Cole Kiis FM
What do you think? Is it better