Jermaine Lamarr Cole, more famously known as rapper J. Cole, released his fifth studio album, “KOD”, on April 20, 2018. According to “Vulture,” the album has broken the record for most streams in a day on Spotify and Apple Music, 36.7 and 64.5 million respectively, a record previously held by Taylor Swift for her lead single, “Look What You Made Me Do.”
The album consists of 12 different songs that delve into how people use sex, money, drugs, alcohol and even social media to escape the pain of life.
“We live in a society where all this drug use is normalized, it’s the norm, it’s okay” said Cole in an interview with Vulture.
Some of the top songs from the album discuss a powerful message that many rappers today don’t talk about anymore. “ATM” discusses wealth addiction, “Photograph” goes into the overuse of social media, and “Kevin’s Heart” discusses the consequences of sex and cheating.
The theme of the album has touched many, as his message is the truth that most people don’t speak up about. For example, the song “Brackets” talks about his concerns about where government taxes are really going and how “the white man” doesn’t do anything when it comes to violence in “the ghetto.”
Let me pick the things I’m funding from an app on my screen
Better that than letting wack congressman I’ve never seen
Dictate where my money go, straight into the palms of some
Money-hungry company that make guns that circulate the country
And then wind up in my hood, making bloody clothes
Stray bullet hit a young boy with a snotty nose
– “Brackets”, “KOD”, J. Cole
The last song on the album, “1985 (Intro to “The Fall Off”)”, lectures young people about how using drugs and doing everything just to earn money isn’t the way to go.
Now your show’s lookin’ light cause they don’t show up
Which unfortunately means the money slow up
Now you scramblin’ and hopin’ to get hot again
But you forgot you only popped ‘cause you was ridin’ trends
Now you old news and you goin’ through regrets
‘Cause you never bought that house, but you got a Benz
And a bunch of jewels and a bunch of shoes
And a bunch of fake friends, I ain’t judgin’ you
I’m just tellin’ you what’s probably gon’ happen when you rappin’
‘Bout the type of shit you rappin’
– “1985 (Intro to ‘The Fall Off;)”, “K.O.D.”, J. Cole.
The record found it’s way to many people including some at our own school. Senior Jim Youngs has loved the album since it was dropped and feels the lyrics have a deeper meaning than other modern hip-hop artists today.
“It’s an album that talks about the struggles of addictions. People say the album isn’t any good but they’re simply not listening to the lyrics,” said Youngs, “In each song you hear a story and it opens you up to a chapter in his [J. Cole] life. I personally have listened to it everyday since it’s dropped.”
There are some people out there who don’t appreciate the message behind Cole’s music, like SoundCloud rapper Lil Pump, who made a diss track about Cole. The seventeen year-old rapper became famous off of his bass-filled songs and constantly yelling “ESKEETIT” all over social media. The rapper preaches about “leaning” or “popping pills” such as xanax or fentanyl which late rapper Lil Peep overdosed on last November.
After KOD dropped, later that night at a concert in Atlanta, rapper Smokepurpp, friend of Lil Pump, started a chant against Cole.
“It’s really a ‘shoe fits’ situation — several people can wear that shoe,” said Cole in an interview with Vulture, “Why you yelling at your show? You must feel attacked in some kind of way, must feel offended, and if you feel offended, then that means something rings true, something struck a chord. That’s cool with me. That’s all I ever want to do.”
Cole knows that some people don’t take him seriously or don’t consider him the best rapper in the game, but that’s not his goal. He’s trying to spread information about the level of addiction that holds back many of us from our true potential. He wants to let you know there is more to life than just drugs, sex, and wealth.