What is J. Cole Doing?

Let’s address this new album.

“Not what you think it is, that’s his missing arm.” Source: YouTube

If I’m being honest, I have no clue what J. Cole has been doing lately. But, I definitely know what he’s doing right now. It’s very apparent.

April 20th of 2018, J. Cole dropped a brand new 12-track album, KOD. I still don’t know what this stands for, but my guess is “King Of something.” That seems to be what’s going on here.

Left field

I don’t keep up with Cole, so I had no idea this was coming until it was right there on my phone. You know what’s crazy? How prominent and distinguishable his album concept is.

It’s a cartoon-ish temptation of euphoria. Cole is this weary, encrusted King.

There’s a back lay of a drug-intensified trope — these kids are exploring complete influence of money and substance. It almost has a Stranger Things nod.

Source: YouTube via VEVO

With this record, one thing is clear:

J. Cole is one wise motherf***

ATM

Once I arrived on track 5 this morning, I knew it was a wrap.

I spotted it instantly.

I tweeted this at 9AM. The music video dropped 3 hours later.

And the video? Woooow. 👏

The Video

I’ll say this: ATM’s video can only be described as innovative. You ever just know when you see something you’ve never ever seen before? I can say with confidence, the video’s theatrics are unbeknownst in the current state of hip-hop.

It’s a feeew steps ahead.

First off, J. Cole is really in the video. I mean like really in the video.

He’s carrying an entire storyline of assorted characters all by himself.

It’s almost like he’s not acting — he’s just living with the song and all its trappings.

Stylistically speaking, the video is beautiful.

Here are some photos that belong to Roc Nation Records and not me:

Source: YouTube via VEVO

There’s also an entire segment of Cole reaching into a “money bag” where his conscience seems to live. How’s that for symbolism? Or maybe it’s foreshadowing… one of those.

Lyrics

I don’t think anyone questions J. Cole’s ability to rap. We’ve all pretty much come to a consensus: the guy can bar. He’s right up there with that other acclaimed “King.” *cough, cough Kendrick*

But Cole is more poetic — that’s one thing I’ve always personally enjoyed about him, as an artist.

On “ATM,” he rhymes:

“ Count it up, count it up, count it up. Count it.

Can’t take it when you die. But you can’t live without it. “

That’s deep. And J. Cole is deep, too. You know he writes all his songs?— that’s what he is, he’s a writer, a poet and a singer and a rapper and he’s pretty damn good at all of ‘em.

- AZ

Bored, uneducated, homeless — em dashes are my specialty. I write what I see, think, and feel. That’s it.

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