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REVIEW: KOD

J. Cole, a divisive rapper, released his new 11-track album "KOD" on April 20, 2018.

The cover features a painting of Cole dressed as a king with a cloak full of demons and children trying various substances.

Isabella Ochoa, Section Editor

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It’s no secret: J. Cole has a way with words. Since his debut album Cole World: The Sideline Story, the American hip-hop rapper continues to increase his fan-base.

On his new addiction-themed album, KOD, he encourages people to refrain from things like smoking, drinking, and immaturity. KOD is an initialism for Kids On Drugs, King OverDosed, and Kill Our Demons.

On April 19, 2018, Cole published the album trailer, explaining the title.  

“If I turn on the TV right now, it’s not going to be long before an advertisement pops up and says ‘Are you feeling down? Have you been having lonely thoughts? And then they shove a pill up your face’ the voice says on the Kings On Drugs title. King OverDosed is representing me, the times that I was — and am — afflicted by the same methods of escape, whether it be alcohol, phone addiction, women,” Cole said. “Lastly, Kill Our Demons represents breaking free of past trauma. Kill Our Demons is like, finding that [expletive], whether it be from traumatic childhood experiences, whether it be from a lack of attention, confidence issues, or insecurities.”

In most of his albums, Cole makes vigorous points for his cause. In this album, Cole uses his lyrical skills to convey his messages.

Cole raps about younger rappers and how music today impacts racial society in his song “1985”.

“I must say, by your songs I’m unimpressed, hey, but I love to see a black man get paid, and plus, you havin’ fun and I respect that, but have you ever thought about your impact? These white kids love that you don’t give a [expletive]. ‘Cause that’s exactly what’s expected when your skin black. They wanna see you dab, they wanna see you pop a pill. They wanna see you tatted from your face to your heels, and somewhere deep down, [expletive] it, I gotta keep it real they wanna be black and think your song is how it feels.”

In this song, Cole points towards 21 year old rapper, Smokepurpp. Smokepurpp and his vocal peer, Lil Pump, had recently tweeted “[expletive] J COLE” at the 21 year old’s Buckhead Theatre concert in Atlanta on April 20. The crowd chanted the rappers’ tweet. In 1985 Cole explains valuable lessons about rap’s generational gaps and racism from his experience.

In “Window Pain,” Cole begins with the story of a little girl who speaks up about her cousin being shot. “When I had fell asleep my mom had heard three gunshots. It was my cousin his name was Rod, the one that came to pick me up. He had been shot right through the face, right in the neck, and he got shot right in the stomach.”

Cole is expressive and self-reflective as he raps the things he truly wishes for in life. He wants to finally be able to honor his own success in the face of all he’s been through. Despite his own troubles, Cole understands how fortunate he is and is aware that many others haven’t been as lucky.

Cole hopes that the artist today, while sitting in their very expensive luxury vehicle, realize that no amount of money, drugs, or possessions can reduce inner troubles, reinforcing the message of valuing self-appreciation and love.

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