Photo credit: Anthony Supreme
Jermaine Lamarr Cole, also known as J.Cole, is a rapper, songwriter, and producer. This North Carolina bred triple threat is one of the first to sell over 350,000 album copies in its first week of sales with no features. Cole’s latest album release, KOD, did not disappoint. Cole kept the same energy with KOD selling over 390,000 copies in its first week, debuting at number-one in New Zealand, Canada, Australia, and Ireland, and has since claimed the title as Certified Gold by the RIAA – all with no features!
The ambiguous 5th studio album title “KOD” has three different meanings: “Killing Our Demons”, “King Overdose”, and “Kids On Drugs”. Three different perspectives, one topic: drugs and alcohol. Cole brings awareness to some current issues within America and uses his platform to share his perspective on the main subject that he believes is killing the black community, the black man specifically. This Cole produced album allowed Cole to bless his fans with strong lyrical rhymes, teaching the kids just that. He actually splits the album meaning into three different ways to properly make sure he reaches each listener. “Killing Our Demons” represents how some may choose to use drugs and alcohol to numb the pain, “King Overdose” speaks on the consequences and effects of the black man abusing drugs and alcohol, and “Kids On Drugs” speaks on how drugs and alcohol are being shown in the media as something “cool”, and the effect it has on children.
J.Cole’s lyrics throughout the album share lyrical enlightened stories and metaphors to all listeners and the title they may identify with. On the fourth track on the album, “The Cut Off (ft. Kill Edward)”, Cole speaks on the chorus on how he had to cut off childhood friends due to trust and financial issues, and how abusing drugs and alcohol was helping him cope with the pain. “Gimme drink, gimme smoke / Get me high, let me float.” Those actions are killing the demons; numbing the pain he has inside. He later finished the chorus with, “Gimme drink, gimme dope / Bottom line, I can’t cope / If I die, I don’t know / I don’t know, I don’t know,” which would result in a King Overdose.
This beautiful body of art also touches on the tax system in America on the record titled “BRACKETS” and shares his concerns. He expresses how he is not comfortable working very hard for his money and success in his career, to turn around and pay half of his hard-earned money to tax. On top of having to pay the government, he thinks about how that money is supposed to help America but he still sees issues in the black community that have not changed. “Yeah, I pay taxes, so much taxes, shit don’t make sense / Where do my dollars go? You see lately, I ain’t been convinced / I guess they say my dollars supposed to build road and schools / But my n*ggas barely graduate, they aint got the tools.” Cole shares how the government system uses tax money to help corporations buy and spread guns rather than investing in the tools for black children to succeed.
He shares a story in the second verse illustrating a family in the community doing their best to survive given the circumstances. The tax payers’ money that is spent on their education and school systems may help, but they are still being taught by people who do not share the same struggle. Cole uses metaphors and imagery to show the cycle that the black community participates in by also paying taxes.
If you are a longtime fan of Cole, you will be happy to hear a visit from Cole’s alter ego, Lil Cole. He is heard on the album when he has a conversation with his uncle, Uncle Sam that is. You will also be pleased to hear another comedian interlude on KOD, which can now be seen as a signature style that J.Cole uses on his albums.