Crooked Smile

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"Crooked Smile"
Single by J. Cole featuring TLC
from the album Born Sinner
ReleasedJune 4, 2013 (2013-06-04)
FormatDigital download, radio airplay
Songwriter(s)Jermaine Cole, Meleni Smith
Producer(s)J. Cole, Elite
J. Cole singles chronology
"Power Trip"
"Crooked Smile"
"Forbidden Fruit"
TLC singles chronology
"Let's Just Do It"
"Crooked Smile"
"Gift Wrapped Kiss"
Audio sample
Music video
"Crooked Smile" on YouTube

"Crooked Smile" is a song by American hip hop recording artist and record producer J. Cole, released June 4, 2013, as the second official single from his second studio album, Born Sinner (2013). The song was produced by Cole himself, and Elite. The song samples Jennifer Hudson's "No One Gonna Love You" and features guest vocals from R&B group TLC. The song has since peaked at number 27 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.


The single features the R&B group TLC who had not released a new single in over seven years since the release of their single "I Bet (feat. O'so Krispie)", which was released in 2005 as part of the digital version of their compilation Now and Forever: The Hits,[1] and as a promotional cut from their reality series R U the Girl. An editor from Billboard commented on the song saying: "The Born Sinner track is an uplifting ode to all those who continue to hold their heads up, especially women, and the importance of inner beauty."[2] The original version of Crooked Smile was released January 28, 2014 on Dreamville's compilation mixtape titled Revenge of the Dreamers, the song samples "Str8 Ballin'" by 2Pac.[3]

Music video[edit]

After Cole and TLC had teased the music video for over a month, on September 18, 2013 the video was released.[4] TLC does not appear in the video with J. Cole but their verses are featured. It is dedicated to Aiyana Stanley-Jones.

Live performances[edit]

J. Cole performed the song, along with his other single "Power Trip" from his second album, at the 2013 BET Awards on June 30, 2013.[5] On August 13, 2013, he performed the song on Conan.[6]


Rolling Stone ranked the song at number 37 on their list of the 100 Best Songs of 2013.[7] The song was nominated for The Ashford and Simpson Songwriter’s Award at the 2013 Soul Train Music Awards.[8] The music video was nominated for a 2014 MTV Video Music Award for Best Video With A Social Message.[9]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Ceremony Award Result
2013 BET Hip Hop Awards Impact Track[10] Won
Soul Train Music Awards The Ashford and Simpson Songwriter’s Award Nominated
2014 BET Hip Hop Awards Best Hip Hop Video Nominated
MTV Video Music Award Best Video With A Social Message Nominated



Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United States (RIAA)[22] Platinum 1,000,000*

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Radio and release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label
United States June 4, 2013[23] Digital download Roc Nation, Columbia Records
June 18, 2013[24][25] Urban contemporary radio
Rhythmic contemporary radio
September 16, 2013[25] Contemporary hit radio


  1. ^ "Now & Forever - The Hits + R U The Girl "I Bet" Single: TLC: MP3 Downloads". Retrieved July 4, 2013.
  2. ^ "J. Cole Releases TLC-Assisted 'Crooked Smile'; Announces 'Dollar And A Dream' Tour". Billboard. Retrieved 2013-11-23.
  3. ^ "J. Cole "Revenge Of The Dreamers" Cover Art, Tracklisting & Stream". HipHopDX. Retrieved February 1, 2014.
  4. ^ "J. Cole "Crooked Smile" Video - XXL". 2013-09-18. Retrieved 2013-11-23.
  5. ^ "J. Cole Performs 'Crooked Smile' At 2013 BET Awards (Video)". Vibe. 2013-07-01. Retrieved 2013-11-23.
  6. ^ "Watch J. Cole Perform 'Crooked Smile' on 'Conan' - Video". Rolling Stone. 2013-08-14. Retrieved 2013-11-23.
  7. ^ "100 Best Songs of 2013".
  8. ^ "2013 Soul Train Awards Nominations". Retrieved December 9, 2013.
  9. ^ "Best Video With A Social Message". MTV. Retrieved July 18, 2014.
  10. ^ "2013 BET Hip Hop Awards: The Complete Winners List". Retrieved November 16, 2013.
  11. ^ " – J. Cole feat. TLC – Crooked Smile" (in Dutch). Ultratip.
  12. ^ " – J. Cole feat. TLC – Crooked Smile" (in French). Ultratip.
  13. ^ "Chart Log UK – Weekly Updates Sales 2013". Retrieved June 30, 2019.
  14. ^ "Official R&B Singles Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company.
  15. ^ "J Cole Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  16. ^ "J Cole Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard.
  17. ^ "J Cole Chart History (Hot Rap Songs)". Billboard.
  18. ^ "J Cole Chart History (Pop Songs)". Billboard.
  19. ^ "J Cole Chart History (Rhythmic)". Billboard.
  20. ^ "2013 Year End Charts — R&B/Hip-Hop Songs". Billboard. Retrieved December 13, 2013.
  21. ^ "2013 Year End Charts — Rap Songs". Billboard. Retrieved December 13, 2013.
  22. ^ "American single certifications – J. Cole – Crooked Smile". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 
  23. ^ "iTunes Store". Archived from the original on August 5, 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-23.
  24. ^ "Urban/UAC Future Releases | R&B, Hip Hop, Release Schedule and Street Dates |". Archived from the original on May 2, 2014. Retrieved 2013-11-23.
  25. ^ a b "Radio Industry News, Music Industry Updates, Arbitron Ratings, Music News and more!". FMQB. Archived from the original on November 13, 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-23.