J. Cole returns after a 2-year break since his 2014 Forest Hill Drive album with another and his second Solo, feature-less album. This time, he kept the track list to just 10 songs and touched topics ranging from racial discrimination, mass incarceration, love, fatherhood, depression, and Gang Violence that is common in the African American Community. A Dreamville source, according to genius confirmed that the storyline in the entire album was a true story and that James (not his real name), the name of the character in the album was a real person and that he changed in the name for the sake of privacy. J. Cole’s storytelling was also evident in this album and it was at its best in this album, as he told a story all the way from the situations surrounding the community and circumstances James was raised in, to selling crack, all the way to him falling in love to him becoming a father, then passing away. It turns out that the entire 4 Your Eyez Only was a memoir for his young daughter to remember him by. The drama before the release of the album was something else; J. Cole had earlier hinted at retirements on two occasions. The first being on DJ Khalid’s Major Key, released in July of 2016, he featured on a track titled “Jermaine’s Interlude”, he hinted at retirement with the lines “Niggas murkin' each other in murky water, Ias try and swim. How the fuck do I look when I brag to you 'bout some diamond? Said all that I could say now I play with thoughts of retirement”. The second time was at an October concert in 2016 where he announced that that particular performance would be his last for a while. That was discombobulating for a lot of fans as regards the status of his career, only for him release a pre-order on iTunes on December 9th, 2016. Like the 2014 Forest Hill Drive, the album didn’t enjoy any marketing; listening party, social media hype, interviews and the whole nine yards. The album had its first single, “Déjà vu”, released Thirty-one days after the release the album; yet, the album sold three hundred and sixty three thousand (363,000) copies on the first week, making it his fourth consecutive number-one album in the United States. As usual, J. Cole didn’t get a Grammy nomination, but got nominations from Billboard and BET. By January 2017, the album was certified Gold, and was certified Platinum by April. 4 Your Eyez Only remains the most controversial album of J. Cole so far and he didn’t bother to address any of the controversy and let people contemplate until it died out.
38 albums, 106 tracks
KOD, which can pass as Kids On Drug/Kill Our Demons/King OverDosed, is J. Cole’s fifth album and the third our in a row to be without a feature, with 2014 Forest Hill Drive and For Your Eyez Only being the first two in the no feature album series. Like the ones before him, the album didn’t enjoy proper marketing before it’s release. He just had two listening parties for this one which was on a first come first serve basis at the venue; no vip or special treatments, just show up, if there’s still an unoccupied seat, you get it. What a guy! KOD focused on the main problem of the society, young and old one kind of problem, Drugs. He preaches the evil drugs alone cause, dreams destroy by drugs, lives cut short because of drugs, the celebration of drug use and actually use of drugs in the music video by new Generation rappers or Trappers or Mumble rappers, as they prefer to be called. He addresses their loss of focus and direction as the drug usage keeps pushing them to make avoidable mistakes and reckless decisions. He addresses personal issues that hit home with his mom’s addiction also. The only feature on the album was his alter ego kiLL edward, a low pitched version of himself, which is believe to be his stepfather’s name and the fact that he thinks of killing his expresses how he feels about the abuse he, his younger brother and his mother suffered from him, which was a major factor that led to his mother’s addiction to alcohol. He also addressed greed in “ATM”, showcasing the extent folks will go just to make a dollar; losing dignity and integrity just to keep up appearances. It also addressed taxation by the Government and how much its weigh people that it could be a factor behind the addiction and he didn’t forget to touch depression. The album still had the Timbaland bass line, but this time J. Cole incorporated a Jazz feel into his sound and he has really grown into a wonderful producer over the years as the sound was a lot smoother and clearer than other song, and the use of bass guitar in a few of the songs shouldn’t be overlooked as well, probably it’s a new style he’s trying to cultivate for himself to make his own. The album was released on 4/20, which is a code associated with marijuana and that in itself is a statement. The album clocked 397,000 copies in the first week, making it his fifth album to clock number one, and it also went on to be certified Platinum in December 2018.
Jermaine Cole ranks as one of my top 10 current rappers in the industry. The fact that I did not accept him the first time I heard of him 2 years earlier on Beyoncé’s “We Like To Party” I wasn’t really into rappers that sing or vice-versa and since Drake was the sensation of that period, I didn’t really have the time to accept another one into the fold. My friend in Uni kept pressuring me to listen to him that he was worth my time and I’d be a sucker for him, I was more like “Nah! I’m good bro”. It was the end of the year in 2013, went on a road trip with 2 other friends to Abeokuta for the Christmas holiday and that was the first time the song “Born Sinner” crossed my path. I was awe struck and fell in love with the song. A complete rap song about self-reflection and the depth of the lyrics was something that was scarce in the reigning acts at that point in time where the popular rap songs were all about lavish life style and boasting. This song took me on a journey that I could relate with because I was at a junction in my life where I was deciding whether to go back to school, or just go on with my job and business; this song took me on a serious self-reflection journey. It took me another 4 days of continuous loop to move on to another song, I went back to the friend that tried to introduce me to the J. Cole earlier, he was also on the Road trip, and I told him how much I appreciated the song and J. Cole. I got his other mixtapes The Warm Up, The Blow Up, and Friday Night Lights, his EPs, Yours Truly 1 & 2, his debut album, Cole World: The Sideline Story, and finally the complete Deluxe version of Born Sinner from him. I spent the entire holiday on J. Cole and being awed as regards why I had slept on him, a mistake I didn’t make with Kendrick Lamar. Born Sinner was successful one for coal as an artiste that recent broke through to the mainstream, it sold 297,000 copies in the first week of it’s release, received positive reviews general and was even said to have been better than Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid, M.A.A.D City lyrically. Without much argument, J. Cole is a wordsmith and is in a class of his own.
J. Cole returned to the scene in the last month of 2014, over a year after his sophomore album Born Sinner. 2014 Forest Hill Drive did not enjoy proper marketing steps albums usually undergo as he began the marketing move 3 weeks prior to its release on 9th of December 2013. The album title comes from his home address in his early childhood, back in North Carolina, Fayatteville, where he, his mother, stepfather and brother all lived before he went to New York for his College Education at St. John’s University. While he was away, the house got foreclosed. He finally made enough money and the first Real Estate property he decided to acquire was the same one he left behind at Fayetteville. The sound in this album was quite different from the one in Born Sinner as he left behind the religious theme, and tried to water down the Timbaland style of bass line: although it was still there, one had to be very conscious to be aware of the traces of the bass line on this album. He touched a lot of topics and the theme of 2014 Forest Hill Drive was J. Cole taking on the conventional lifestyle and business style of Hollywood; it was more or less a “Fuck You Hollywood” album. First, he released a 13-track album without a feature, he didn’t release Singles to increase anticipation, and only started promotion 3 weeks prior to the release date. So he was going all out against the convention of things and somehow, the album ended up triple platinum in May 2019. It sold 353,000 copies in the first week, and reached number one, making J. Cole the 6th rapper, joining Drake, Nelly, Rick Ross, DMX, and Snoop Dogg, to make number one with their first 3 full-length albums. The album was both commercially successful and critically acclaimed in the hip-hop community and the power of his storytelling could not be ignore as he did justice to every verse on every track and staying on topic of each song and never getting carried away. He told stories of how he’s been trying to handle his new found fame, the lavish and immoral lifestyle he has been exposed to since his fame and hard work is now paying off. He also touched the vices of prostitution, drug habit, emotional blackmail, robbery, corruption, sex, and lust. The most important topics he touched were contentment, hope, and depression.
So, I have a lot of feelings about J.Cole. J Cole is like that college friend you used to chase women and smoke with that grew up a little too much. You chill with him because of the friendship you had in the past but you don’t see him too often cuz he’s such a bummer. He’s the friend who gives out Condoms at the beginning of the night so everyone can practice safe sex. I wanna be mad at him but he’s just looking out for us. Yep, J Cole is very mature. His credit score is probably a solid 815 and while he can “respect a good sneaker game” he’d rather “invest that money into Nike. It’s conflicting to me because I try my hardest to avoid being adult but Jermaine reminds me time and time again that we’re always getting older. What’s very ironic about this is that J Cole is so grown but he spends more time focused on the youth. His fan base has consistently stayed college kids for the past 10 years. So, on one end he’s your most responsible friend, but on the other end he’s always hanging out on your old college campus. Now I could go on and on about how weird and slightly off putting this is, but I’m not writing a character analysis, I’m writing about music! So, let’s get into J Cole’s album KOD.
The North Carolina rapper, J. Cole finally arrives with his long-awaited debut studio album after making three successful mixtapes and two years of signing to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation. Cole is smarter than most conventional MCs but he happens to be too flashy for the lowkey life; he obviously goes after the exotic life, the Beamers, Benzes, and Bentleys and equally flaunting success and sensitivity. J. Cole is a technically brilliant rapper, giving out dozens of word-play and punch lines in his songs. In the album, Cole World: The Sideline Story J. Cole wrote all of his lyrics, produced 12 out of 16 songs himself, and bringing in guest appearances from Drake, Missy Elliot, Jay-Z, and Trey Songz, it is quite difficult to argue with his assertion on soulful look at success in the 6th track “Sideline Story” where he claims, “I promise baby, you can bet the bank on me.” The album started with an overly sentimental and dramatic beat and later takes it cue. As it is, the album is not so outstanding but the commendable efforts in the album show a talented young guy whose potential for long-term success cannot be over emphasized.
Official Music Videos
Featuring Version Videos
Remix Version Videos
Static Image Video
- Roc Nation
Jermaine Lamar Cole (born January 28, 1985), known professionally as J. Cole, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter and record producer. Born on a military base in Germany but raised in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Cole initially gained recognition as a rapper following the release of his debut mixtape, The Come Up, in early 2007. Intent on further pursuing a solo career as a rapper, he went on to release two additional mixtapes, The Warm Up and Friday Night Lights after signing to Jay-Z's Roc Nation imprint in 2009.
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