Vices Come In Different Shades, As J.Cole Explains On 'K.O.D'

a prophet before his time


Finding a balance in life becomes easier said than achieved; constantly being held to a standard that is man-made, choosing between the morals and beliefs you grow up with and the fictional remedies that mainstream culture nurtures. For over a decade, J.Cole has condemned us for false prophesizing anger, gluttony and over-analyzing a lifestyle that Is far from perpetual. Maybe condemned is too strong of a word-- can you stomach criticized and denoted? The Life a man of color chooses to chase, before his own pride and reconnaissance, fuels nothing but the wretched conformity of mainstream America.

K.O.D may have been right on time as far as J.Cole albums go, but a J.Cole fan will tell you it is nothing short of the expectation. A full length realization of where our culture within hip-hop and conscious lyric has brought us and forsaken us-- leaving us empty with the only choice we have left: talking about guns, debauchery and money we will never see again. A special 4/20 gift to most upper echelon listeners, K.O.D strives to keep J.Cole's semantic ability in rap approachable and conversationally aware. Agonizing for most, K.O.D is exactly what mainstream doesn't want right now- a copious amount of disregard to most of today's cookie-cutter rappers giving you the same game on a different line of drums.

The twelve-track project comes in the darkest corners of the night for the West-Coast, preceding J.Cole's tweets for exclusive pop-up listening parties and track list reveal. In more recent J.Cole fashion, the album is in personal company with an appearance from his rumored alter-ego. Not that I'm counting, but there are twelve songs on this album that I enjoy. A sight not always seen, Cole's ability to stay so true to the power of his word gives me hope on his Intro and K.O.D. Photograph is a ballad that supports our current expectation to meeting someone over the air. We get incredibly attached to the idea behind how something looks in a journey to please our own desires. What makes me curious about the trivial and possibly fraudulent disgust toward J.Cole is how prevalent it seems to be, especially when he successfully creates conversation after an album drop. His mix-tape history was one of Rap's most revered in terms of soulful collaborations, starting off with The Come Up. Years later, his debut Cole World: The Sideline Story landed him in the eyes of many after being nominated Best New Artist by BET- not knowing he had created the lane for himself that would push his fans to the edge of clarity.


After seeing higher potential through Roc Nation, Cole released Born Sinner and it was again, to be believed that J.Cole was a rapper that only spoke truths and money conspiracies with production you wouldn't even believe if I told you. Top hit after top hit silenced Cole until the follow-up release of 2014 Forest Hills Drive leading us back into mix-tape matrimony with 4 Your Eyez Only. I just realized that the velocity of every project I mentioned has been comfortably placed in a time warp of societal issues or topics, heightened by the wordplay Cole ensues. (Maybe it's just me)

Ultimately, this project becomes another steadfast moment in relevant music appreciation -- for the J.Cole fans who knew he'd deliver something that seemed modern and enthusiastic enough to motivate the non-believers and apprehensive listeners who only indulge in RAP CAVIAR.

Stream the newest effort from J.Cole below.

Blake MatthewsComment