J. Cole's new album lives up to the hype

By Adam Melville
On April 25, 2018

The Ville is most definitely back with J.Cole’s fifth studio album "KOD." Cole only promoted the album for about a week before dropping it on April 20. Though there was a short timeframe for promotion, the anticipation and hype could be felt in the air around the project.

After one listen, it was easy to see that "KOD" completely lived up to the hype that grew around it.

"KOD" has three specific meanings according to Cole: Kids On Drugs, King Overdosed, and Kill Our Demons. The album addresses all three subjects and even a few more. The instrumentals throughout this album are simple yet effective.

Cole uses these instrumentals to draw the listener to the lyrics he has crafted and before you know it, you are caught entranced by a melodic verse that is full of wisdom and depth. The depth of the songs throughout this album feeds heavily into its replay value.

The beginning of the album is essentially all bangers. "KOD," the title track and the first track, starts the album off with braggadocious verses and a catchy hook that makes you bump your head to the beat. On "Photograph," Cole addresses the way people try and find love through social media in this digital age.

"ATM" is another banger on the album simply about stacking bread (cash). Cole utilizes his flow to craft several catchy hooks and verses that work well over the mellow instrumental. "Motiv8" is another braggadocious hit that makes you just want to get up and dance.

Although the beginning of the album contains these hits the latter part of the album is when it really starts to get deep. "Kevin’s Heart" is a song full of double entendres referring to infidelity and addiction. Throughout the song he tells a story about how he falls subject to the temptations of not only other women but drugs.

Not only is he able to talk about his own challenges with being in faithful but he weaves in references to the song’s namesake Kevin Hart. Genius has a comprehensive breakdown of this song line by line which I highly recommend reading after listening to the song.

"BRACKETS" is another amazing song full of meaning. The songs title refers to tax brackets that separate tax percentages by income in America according to Genius. Cole uses this song to ponder where the money puts towards his taxes is going. The song even goes far enough to consider the adverse effects that his tax dollars are likely having on his community currently.

"FRIENDS" is a personal favorite from this album. Cole addresses the Kill Our Demons and Kids On Drugs aspects of the album with this song. The song is written as a letter to the people in his life that are struggling with drug addiction. He talks to them as a friend who wants to see them overcome the struggles they have without falling victim to an overdose.

He also acknowledges the fact that people begin to lean on drugs for many different reasons including mental health issues, troubled pasts and inner demons, and suggests an alternative meditation.

"KOD" represents the type of album that the rap genre was meant to embody. An album that you can party to yet is able to educate you about the world that we live in and how to improve it. In an age of mumble rap, artists like J. Cole show the world that rap and hip-hop can continue to be a medium for speaking out against injustice and a call to fight for change.

"KOD" is available to be streamed on any service and a breakdown of every songs lyrics can be found on Genius. Take a listen and you can learn more about the struggles people in our world go through.

 

amelvill@ramapo.edu

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