Another day, another surprise album drop from J Cole. For a third straight album, Cole has managed to get all his fans and the rap world in a buzz leading up to his album’s anticipated release. This album was one of his more anticipated, especially after his last album 4 Your Eyez Only. Compared to his other album releases at the time, this was generally weak for a J Cole album (although it is a personal favorite of mine). Due to this, this had a lot of people thinking of what type of Cole we were going to get. Were we getting storytelling Cole from 4 Your Eyez Only, or are we getting the Cole that got his fanbase as large as it is today?
KOD has three meanings: Kids on Drugs, King Overdosed, Kill Our Demons. It’s up for your interpretation over which one of these speaks more on this album, but all three messages came across well throughout the album. Kids On Drugs refers to the kids who resort to drugs to cure their own personal problems, or to escape situations. King Overdosed, I believe, is a reference to all the famous celebrities people idolize but have succumbed to the pressures of fame and society. These people have overdosed, or simply put, folded in the public eye and let his/her fans down. Kill Our Demons refers to why some people may do drugs, to escape their demons.
Going over the tracklist, it’s strong from start to finish. “KOD” and “Photograph” are my two favorite songs off this album currently, which kicked off the album after the intro. Right away I knew this album would be a complete 180 from 4 Your Eyez Only. Those two songs have potential to be bangers, and after hearing these songs at first, I thought it already had just as many bangers as 4 Your Eyez Only, just after a few songs.
Photograph is probably my favorite song off this album currently. This song literally is for every person who follows someone they don’t know or never met on Instagram, or any type of social media for that matter. People can fall in love with people without even meeting or interacting with them. This is another song where Cole says things that we all think, but don’t say.
Next, the middle of the album is filled up with “ATM,” “Motiv8,” “Kevin’s Heart,” and “BRACKETS.” “ATM” was the only song that I thought didn’t have to be on the album. In no ways is it a bad song, but it’s a bit different than the other songs on the album. “Motiv8” is a great gym workout song. It reminds me of the “Mo Money” freestyle on Born Sinner. “Kevin’s Heart” is about the temptation of cheating on your girl and being ashamed of yourself. J Cole frequently raps about love, and this song is another example of that. He sends the message that the temptations of cheating on your significant other are strong, but it’s not worth losing your number one. “BRACKETS” covers a lot of political issues in the world, including paying taxes and school shootings. You can tell Cole is passionate about topics like this, because he sounds like he pours his heart into every word he puts into a song about issues like these.
His two songs with his alter ego “kiLL edward” was a fresh mix between Cole’s deep alter ego and himself. After initially seeing the tracklist and saw his name next to two songs, I was confused because it was shocking to see a J Cole album with features on it. After more research, and learning about this alter ego, it got me excited that Cole will have his own alter ego, like Logic has Bobby Tarantino and Eminem has Slim Shady. We’ll see if he continues to use this alter ego for future projects.
“Once an Addict (Interlude)” and “Window Pain (Outro)” covers Cole’s upbringing and his troubled childhood. On the intro, he, once again, pours his emotions about his personal issues and demons he may have had to face. Maybe Cole took drugs to kill his demons from this hard time in his life. Through all the hardship and struggle, Cole reminds us to be thankful for all the blessings in our lives on the outro.
“1985” sends the listener off onto his next project. What that project is, I can only guess, but if his bars in this song mean anything, then people should be excited for it. 1985 gave me old Cole vibes. Like, mixtape Cole vibes. The song is an “Intro to “The Fall Off,”” which I believe is the successor to The Warm Up. Think about it, you have The Come Up, The Warm Up, and then The Fall Off. He comes up, gets hot, then falls down. That’s my theory, but we’ll have to wait and see.
I’ve been listening to Cole since I was 12 years old, seen him live in concert many times, and basically just grew up on Jermaine being THE rapper and artist for me. It’s so cool watching a guy you have supported for so long succeed and do as well as Cole has done for himself over the years. I can confidently say that this album will be a top-3 Cole album for a lot of listeners. It has more bangers than his last album and has potential to have just as many bangers as his most acclaimed album 2014 Forest Hills Drive.
Overall, I’d give this album an 8.7/10. I love the album and how much different it is compared to his last album. Thank you, Cole, for an album to bump for the weeks and months ahead, and an album to go back and vibe to for the years to come.
J Cole Album Rankings:
1. 2014 Forest Hills Drive
3. Born Sinner
4. Cole World: Sideline Story
5. 4 Your Eyez Only (although this is one of my favorites)
— Dante Turo (@DanteOnDeck) April 20, 2018
Photo via Twitter