KOD Album Review



Sarah Maniago, Co-Editor

Jermaine Lamarr Cole, widely known as the artist, J. Cole, has been in the music industry for years, working hard to make his way to the top.

Winner of various awards, such as BET’s Best Mixtape in 2011, BET’s Impact Track for “Crooked Smile” in 2013, BET’s Best Live Performer and Album of the Year for 2014 Forest Hills Drive in 2015, BET’s Impact Track for “Love Yourz” in 2016, and Billboard Music Awards’ Top Rap Album for 2014 Forest Hills Drive in 2015, reflects his impact on the hip-hop community. Starting from the very bottom, J.Cole has made mixtapes growing up which soon lead to his later and most known works that are professionally produced and are topping the charts.

His most recent studio album, KOD, was released on April 20, 2018. Its success has brought J. Cole to No. 1 on Billboard’s Top 100 charts from No. 96. Tweeted by Apple Music, KOD has broken the 24-hour record with 64.5 million streams. Similarly, Spotify tweeted about its success with 36,656,086 streams on its first day of release. His success and hard work have topped the charts and broken records with no guest features.

The concept behind KOD is addiction, used metaphorically and literally, and the struggle between one’s self and the addiction. KOD has three meanings to it: Kids on Drugs, pertaining to everybody trying to find an escape and their own drug to cope with; King Overdosed, referring to himself and personifying his experience with addiction; and most importantly,  Kill Our Demons, emphasizing the need to face your demons head-on in order to overcome them. Cole tweeted in addition to the three meanings, “The rest of the album I leave to your interpretation.”

With the lyrical intelligence of J. Cole, he digs deeper into the real meaning of coping and pain by revealing truths that we couldn’t realize ourselves. Revolving around the topics of mental health, addiction, and pain, he speaks out on an unspoken subject in the hip-hop community. He uses drugs and alcohol as a symbol to express the escape we all seek; facing those struggles are the only way to find that escape. With repetition throughout the album, Cole emphasizes the importance of coping and to “choose wisely” when finding that outlet.

With this album, J. Cole never failed to spark a conversation; the message and theme being addressed can relate the everybody, as well as being able to help those looking for it.

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