This is What Millennials Need to Hear: J. Cole “KOD” Album Review

Album cover for “KOD”, shows a very dreamy picture of multiple kids doing different drugs such as smoking marijuana, snorting cocaine, and taking pills. All of this is the general theme of the album, and what J. Cole is advocating against.

Photo via iTunes

Album cover for “KOD”, shows a very dreamy picture of multiple kids doing different drugs such as smoking marijuana, snorting cocaine, and taking pills. All of this is the general theme of the album, and what J. Cole is advocating against.

Alexander Estes, Staff Writer

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After almost two years, rapper/singer J. Cole has finally released a new album by surprise, “KOD”. There was no talk or reveal leading up to this, except several days before the release he tweeted out “New Album. KOD 4/20.” He also said that there were two meanings to this album, “Kids On Drugs, King Overdosed, and Kill Our Demons. Clearly from the album’s artwork, which is beautiful, people interpreted that this album would definitely be a much more different album than the rest of his. It shows J. Cole (or “kiLL edward,” which will be explained later), and a bunch of kids on drugs such as marijuana, pills, cocaine, etc. This album’s main purpose was to show his view on addiction and drugs, and he does so in many great ways, but at times fails to grasp the bigger picture of what he is trying to portray.

The album starts off with an introduction track, with a jazzy, cloudy environmental music, and a female narrator talking about pain and ways to deal with it, and to “choose wisely.” After this it transitions into one of the biggest bangers on the album, self-titled “KOD”. This is a strong track that has many memorable lines including where he talks about features, which he is infamous for having albums without features, says “How come you won’t get a few features? I think you should? How ‘bout I don’t.” Other of the bangers on this album are really good, including “ATM” and “Motiv8,” and if you ever want to check it out, the music video for “ATM” is pretty fantastic and has a cool Dr. Seuss feel to it.

One of the more talked about things about this album is that oddly enough, there are two features; one from somebody named “kiLL edward”. Which everybody figured out, is just J Cole. with a deeper voice. A day before the album was released, an artist named “kiLL edward” released a track called “Tidal Wave (just a little reference)”, which was a simple track and where we clearly notice that he is actually J, Cole. Both of the tracks that he is on are actually a few of my favorite tracks on the album, “Cut Off”, and “FRIENDS”. Both of these have kiLL edward singing the chorus while Cole raps along the track. Throughout the album he does sings a lot  about drugs and addiction, and on “FRIENDS” he has a part near the end where there is a build up to where he says, “I understand this message is not the coolest to say, But if you down to try it I know of a better way. Meditate.”

Along with these semi-preachy messages throughout the album, there is also a short interlude near the end of the album, “Once an Addict – Interlude”, where it brings back that odd narration of a women talking about pain and a lack of understanding. After this he goes and cries out a tragedy story about his mother and how she was once an addict, and how it affected him as a child. This is in my opinion the strongest track on the album because of how he pours out his heart on this track on the problems of addiction and how it affects families, which I think many people could relate to.

My favorite part about this whole album is the message that he was intending on sending, on drug addiction and the problems and struggles of having one, but in times he fails to fully grasp this and translate this into a solid message. All throughout the album he does grasp this pretty well for example on “Once an Addict – Interlude” and “Kevin’s Heart”, but also wanders away from the main point of the album. For example the song “Photograph, he talks about finding a girl on social media and trying to get with her, which is a pretty okay song but does not have to do with the main direction he was trying to go with on this album. Of course there are other tracks that go away from the main vibe of the album, like “BRACKETS”,  where he talks about how much he is being taxed by the government.

I can’t not mention the last track on “KOD”, “1985 – Intro to “The Fall Off”.” On this track he raps to a very simple but intriguing beat, and very obviously disses a number of new rappers, giving them advice. Most people have theorized this as a diss to the new popular rapper Lil Pump, as in the past he had a phase where he was dissing J. Cole. All of these bars on this track are some of his best recent ones, and makes for an extremely fun and entertaining listen, especially if you can connect many of these disses to a lot of the upcoming rappers like Lil Pump, Smokepurpp, ect.

Personally, I thought the idea of having an album dedicated to addiction and drugs is very important for our generation, especially with our ongoing opioid crisis in our country and because of how many kids it is affecting. For somebody with such a big figure as J. Cole that many kids look up to, this is definitely the message we need. Unfortunately, I think that this album did not evolve into how great it could have been on capitalizing on this message.

My rating for “KOD” is a strong 6/10 for the fact that it does include some decent songs but it also goes off track on what the main message of what the album was about in the first place. If you have the chance to listen to this album please do so, as it involve lots of lessons and messages about addiction and drugs that the millennials of our generation really need to learn about.

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