Smoke Signals

J. Cole Is Back and Just as Lyrical

Jeff Grundy, Staff Writer

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  J. Cole is one of the more polarizing rappers of this era. With a plethora of flows pulling verses and rhyming patterns seemingly out of thin air, while the whole album flows song to song with a certain amount of sauce that is expected in a Cole album. But with his newest album KOD his attitude is poetic but with an air braggy confidence in songs like “ATM” or “1985.”

  One motif throughout Cole’s multi-album career is his push for black empowerment and supporting his community but in KOD, Cole becomes less of a pastor, preaching for peace and unity, and becomes a reporter shining light on the life of his community and its darker trends shown in songs like “BRACKETS”. Cole breaks down addiction to non-material things like pride and happiness and how that frequently backfires in everyday life.

 Then there are the narcotics. There’s no question that drugs have been a big part of rap throughout the years but never has drugs hit the ultimate mainstage through artists like Lil Pump, Smokepurpp, and Kodak Black who constantly rap about the party life, Cole doesn’t attack them at-all but by breaking down the future of these rappers and the negatives to trend hopping and how good rap (his own rap) will last forever.

  But Cole is far from egotistical from admitting to his party-past and his vices openly almost wearing them as a shield from criticism. He knows he’s technically a hypocrite but his age and veteran status in the rap game excuse his past behaviours.

   Obviously I enjoyed the album but it’s obviously not as strong as 2014 Forest Hills Drive, his double platinum album that is 100% J. Cole featuring none. KOD felt very necessary but incomplete, the “story” that usually accompanies a Cole album is weak at best, and his usual compilation of punchy quick rhymes accompanied with ballads is lost in this album with most songs with sad chorus and fiery rhymes. J. Cole the GOAT of 2014 falls flat: 8/10.

 

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Jeff Grundy, News Editor

Jeff Grundy is the News Editor of Smokes Signals and a senior at West High. His interests include politics and government.

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J. Cole Is Back and Just as Lyrical