Jermaine Cole has been on the tip of everyone’s tongue recently. The solitude rapper dropped his fourth project with minimal promotion, just a tweet. J. Cole’s music isn’t for the narrow-minded, he writes for people of a certain intelligence. Most hip-hop fans that don’t like J. Cole’s music listen to ‘mumble rap’ or ‘turn-up music,’ nothing that will elevate them or appreciate the high power.
Being an avid fan of his since Friday Night Lights, as I write this critique it must be fair. There were a lot of Facebook debates about KOD today, and I had to defend the artist for many reasons. One, I appreciate the lyricism. The next reason why I was so defensive about this record is the message. It’s refreshing to hear an artist get on the mic with a message, instead of degrading his people for dollars. Instead of hearing for ten songs straight how light-skinned females got it going on and dark women are ugly. Reiterating colorism which is an issue that needs to die within the black and ethnic community. How can we expect non-black and ethnic people to stop referring to or using colorism if members of the community are perpetuating these narratives themselves? Cole doing the complete opposite is brave for a lot of reasons, which is why he’ll keep his longevity.
Another topic he touched on is addiction, which is a topic that isn’t highly publicized. He spoke about the damaging effects addiction can have on the people around you. Often, something that isn’t really spoken about in the black community.
1985 is one of my favorite tracks for quite a few reasons. It’s witty; he’s not boastful, it’s just truthful statements. While writing this article, it made me think of one of the quotes my mom always says to me “I can tell you about something until I’m blue in the face. But you won’t fully comprehend what I’m telling you until it’s experienced.” All these new rappers keep coming for him not realizing that he’s been in the game for ten years. He has gone double platinum with no features before they changed the rules. So, it’s comical to see them talk trash when they haven’t accomplished what he has. Cole had the best rebuttal “in five years I’ll see you on Love &Hip-Hop”. Most of the people you see on Love & Hip-Hop are people you haven’t heard of or people reigniting their careers.
Cole, Drizzy, K.Dot, and Wale are rappers who made it cool to be normal. The main complaint I saw about this record was lack of growth. This was something that I didn’t agree with at all especially following his career from the beginning. His records spoke about the times when we partied in his youth, then transitioning to his grown man status. He speaks about each period a man goes through while finding themselves. Which is something that I can appreciate because it displays the complexities of manhood.