J Cole has created quite the reputation for himself over his career. Known for his lyrical genius, unique beats, and… taking his SWEET TIME on his art! Cole has become somewhat infamous for his lengthy hiatuses between albums. His fans will wait years before he releases something new yet continue to stay loyal through it all.
However, when he is finally about to reveal his newest project, you’ll know about it. He leaves subtle hints like a trail of breadcrumbs and fans eat that sh*t up! The trail leading up to each drop is sprinkled with subtle social media posts that sends fans into a frenzy of speculation. After years of patiently waiting for our next crumb, we were finally fed!
He announced his sixth solo album, The Off Season, just last week on Instagram. In addition to the announcement he provided a release date of May 14th, just a few days away! He shared a photo of a handwritten note, seemingly hinting at a track list. Not only a track list, but also a to-do list, alluding that he still has some work to do on “The Fall Off Era.”
“I still got some goals I gotta check off for’ I scram…”
Fans quickly turned into FBI agents, analyzing each word of his post and what it could possibly mean. Many speculated that this post was also his retirement announcement, as implied in the caption and the name of the song. We’ll all be sad to see him go, but hopefully, this won’t be the last of him.
In honor of J Cole dropping his album this Friday, and with the possibility his retirement, let’s look back on his most popular and powerful songs.
No Role Modelz
J Cole has always gone against the grain, and this song summarizes his philosophy perfectly. “No Role Modelz” is about his reaction to being a celebrity and the fakeness of the Hollywood lifestyle. He tried delving into this scene, but he’s tired of trying to “save” these people from their way of life. He wants friends who know what they want and are serious about their passions rather than clout chasers. Don’t we all?
MIDDLE CHILD is his most recent tracks from this list. This song got its name because Cole believes he is the in-between of the old and new generation of hip hop, leaving him in the middle. Before the song release, he posted photos of celebrities such as Michael Jordan, Bill Gates, and Britney Spears, with the caption “MIDDLE CHILD” to refers to the title of the anthem.
This song also caught me because of its interesting beat. It starts with trumpets that continue throughout the piece. I have to admire his range and ability to take risks musically.
Cole has always had skill with storytelling in his music. He takes us back to his high school days, specifically when he lost his virginity. It’s a song that you blast in the car and laugh at with your friends. He describes his first time in a way that we can all relate to. You can feel the awkwardness, excitement, and anxiousness that comes with your “first time” and you can experience the story with him. How could you not relate?
4 Your Eyez Only
Even though it’s not one of his most listened to songs on Spotify, it’s one of his top songs for me. This track is a whole production, a nine-minute number that was dedicated to Cole’s friend’s daughter. He talks about where he grew up and the hardships that came with living there.
Cole’s friend confided in him, saying he didn’t feel like he had much time left. He wanted Cole to leave a message for his daughter in this song and only release it if he passes – which leaves listeners to assume that he did pass away. The listeners feel this heavy tone with him as he tells this story. It’s just another example of his amazing storytelling skills and how he’s able to bring listeners in to feel what he’s going through.
Kevin’s Heart is about someone who is in love with drugs and is trying to quit the addiction. It also talks about how this addiction can extend to their relationships. This song is a direct correlation to the title of the album, KOD, the acronym for the album name has three meanings. It relates to Kid On Drugs because it is from the point of view of someone attempting to stay away from them. It relates to Kill Our Demons because it is about getting rid of the narrator’s lust for other people. And lastly, King OverDosed is about Cole, as the track could be addressing his own history of drug addiction and cheating. I love how he keeps the theme of the album throughout his songs.
J Cole is an artist that is different from the rest – and he has rightfully earned his title of the middle child of hip-hop. Being a middle child stereotypically means that you’re easily forgotten, but being this in-between of the genre actually makes him stand out more. He takes advantage of this role and uses it to highlight his differences. He has a unique style that no one can really master but him.