For the third time, J. Cole has released an album masked in secrecy. The Dreamville founder began teasing the album by tweeting an open invitation to an impromptu listening session at New York’s Gramercy Theatre. There he revealed the LP release date.
The acronym-friendly titled LP, KOD dropped on April 20th, 2018. Only those who attended the private pop up listening sessions in New York and London earlier that week knew what to expect from the highly anticipated project. A part of Jermaine’s mystique demeanor is his dedication to confidentiality and exchanging traditional releases for curated surprises.
A couple days later he revealed the artwork and track-list to the 12-song set. The cover depicts a hollow-eyed king in a woolly cape concealing children smoking weed, popping pills, sniffing coke, and sipping lean. Then right above the rapper’s head is a disclaimer: “This album is in no way intended to glorify addiction.”
A few hours before the album dropped, the album’s title was given some context via the album trailer. KOD, is an exploration of addiction and carries three different meanings: Kids On Drugs, King Overdose, and Kill Our Demons.
There are a few things you need to know as you dive into the new album. Across the 12 tracks, he talks politicking and the government, empathizes with depression sufferers and gun violence victims, turns a Kevin Hart cheating scandal into a monologue on infidelity, and re-evaluates his own childhood.
After listening to KOD we see that his last album, 4YEO, was only a warm up for more singing. And if you ask me, the North Carolina MC’s singing has become more pleasant. On this project, the Dreamville founder is way out of his comfort zone but sounds so at ease.
As per usual, KOD makes for a 1 listen fashion: no skipping, no fast-forwarding, no rewinding and no stopping. Each song more enticing than the last, from start to finish. Empathy is the heart of this album. Cole reveals how he perceives and absorbs the world by the amount of empathy expressed in his music. On release day, the Roc Nation MC set a Spotify record for the second track’KOD’ for biggest opening day with 4.2 million streams.
** Photo Credit — Shout out to ENVY of ENVYDesign for the dope featured image **
Check out the trailer here & listen below: