In today’s rapscape there exists a handful number of talented storytellers who can blend their artful rhymes with mellifluous production. Like his new school counterparts Kendrick Lamar, Pusha T, Joell Ortiz, etc.; J. Cole has been consistent without compromising his momentum. Enter album number 5 – KOD
An acronym for Kids On Drugs, King Overdosed and Kill Our Demons, with parallel artwork, this North Carolina native delivers a superb album of twelve tracks with cautionary messages throughout; egging us to “Choose wisely”.
The first single ATM (or Addicted To Money) is a narrative on having excess cash, the pursuit of a life materialistic and the eventual “keeping up with the Joneses”. With a dreamy hook, the track builds into a thumping bouncy beat.
The entire album is reflective of today’s world and how the current druggy rap culture is posing misconceptions, promoting callousness, escapism and prudish behavior. Cole, having evolved from a young adult into mature 30-something in his music career, is being civic and giving back to the community by sharing anecdotes and pearls of wisdom for today’s disjointed (insert mumble) rappers. Tracks such as “Motiv8”. “The Cut Off” and “KOD” display some elements of trap beats that uniquely fuses with traditional hip hop production. Combining with his syncopated, percussive flow, KOD is comes off nothing short of stellar.
“Kevin’s Heart” is a warning tale of impeding temptations, infidelity, drug use and being outed in the process. Surprisingly the music video stars Kevin Hart who was recently admitted to infidelity. It’s a smooth R&B slow jam-ish track with J. Cole semi-singing and dropping knowledge and it hits home with the menfolk. The reverse of slut-shaming does exist.
“FRIENDS” is also another great track with guest vocals from kiLL edward who also appears on “The Cut Off”. Before the grand finale, we arrive at “Window (Outro)”. The sample-based production is kinda hypnotic with its strings and guitar licks and with heavy lyrics that leaves you pondering about where we are headed.
The album closes with a bang, with a prelude to his upcoming album. “1985 – Intro to ‘The Fall Off’ ” is an answer to Lil Pump’s “Fuck J. Cole” diss. With production that could pass off as nugget from A Tribe Called Quest vault, this is straight hip hop with sharp double entendres, metal jabs and a display of pure finesse. Instead of teasing Lil’ Pump’s ridiculous appearance, lack of skills or his horrendous mumble flow, J. Cole holds back and offer reflection and even advice:
“Congrats ’cause you made it out your mama’s house/
I hope you make enough to buy your mom a house/
I see your watch icy and your whip foreign/
I got some good advice, never quit tourin’”
Instead taking offence and ripping him to shreds, J.Cole understands the immaturity and the ignorance of the likes of Lil’ Pump, 6ix9ine, Lil’ Uzi Vert and the slew of today’s corny rappers who can’t spit a decent bar. He exudes his maturity and nonchalance in the last eight lines of this song, with a warning shot reminding his detractors of their imminent has-been status and his prowess, which will be remembered and cited as one of rap’s spectacular beefs.
We excitedly await his next while we bump this album nonstop, all day err’day.