In what would seem like the most opportune time, J. Cole releases “KOD”, an album that directly speaks to a new generation of influenced, lost, and uncertain youth.
During a time when more and more artists are coming and going in the midst of an unsaid code of ethics being thrown to the wind in the rap community, J.Cole has swept in to set the rules straight. With 12 tracks under 45 minutes, Cole candidly speaks on factors that are impacting young people severely. Specifically, he addresses people in communities that are lacking resources to properly succeed, communities where he grew and continues to walk the beat in. He has taken a huge stand on drug culture by busting down on the glorification that has recently surrounded what is an epidemic in America, he also touches on the subjugated empowerment of money, rocky relationships, as well as the power and influence of new artists in rap.
While this album does not compare to past works like “Born Sinner” (2013) or “Forest Hills Drive” (2014) in the sense of their tedious production and intricate lyricism, “KOD” cuts straight to the point using descriptive and more simplistic storytelling. “KOD” seems to be an outlet for Cole to release his true feelings on where society is currently standing. The album has been a place for him to clear his chest and grow into the role of an “OG” so to speak.
Along with the release of an out of the blue album, to be quite frank, Cole released an abstract visual for “ATM” where he characterized the enslavement money has on society. The colorful arrangement depicted the highs and lows of what richest can bring, but if not played correctly, how fast riches can be taken away.
Despite such a complete work that spits the utmost of game, Cole ended the album with a track that has sent waves throughout the industry.
On the last track of the album titled “1985 (Intro to “The Fall Off”)”, Cole allegedly addresses rapper Lil Pump. “I ain’t never heard a rapper body another rapper by giving him at TED talk,” said Charlamagne Tha God when speaking on the song during his Instagram live feed late last week.
On this particular song Cole sends advice to what is speculated to be Lil Pump but to any other trendy artist as well with lyrics like “never quit tourin’, ‘cause that’s the way we eat here in this rap game”, “have you ever thought about your impact”, and “you goin’ through regrets ‘cause you never bought that house”. Cole expressing that even though he’s not happy with the pop/trap trend within rap, he’s happy to see a fellow African American make money, but he doesn’t want to see them throw it away either.
This message is particularly important to Cole knowing that in the past he struggled with a materialistic mentality (Refer to: “Chaining Day” on “Born Sinner”) before trading it all in, even his car for a bicycle, in 2014. Despite who Cole is or isn’t referring to, he most likely will not sway the mentalities of this new generation to become better role models and upstanding citizens, but instead has been the voice for older generations who have continually preached on the same subjects for the past few years. Cole has used this album to voice what many of us have been thinking, which is soothing in itself.
Take a dive into “KOD” and decide what side you the fence suits best.