A week after J.Cole released his fifth studio album, “KOD” which means Kids On Drugs, King Overdosed, And Kill Our Demons, I wrote about him and my review of the album but for some reason never published it. I kept telling myself there was NO way I could miss him on tour (since I didn’t go to 4 Your Eyez Only). Being a woman of my word, this past Monday I went to see him perform at MSG for his KOD tour. That night stirred up so many different feelings and emotions; it was everything I expected and much more. So here you go, here’s what I had to say back in April and more of my thoughts now.
Whenever I’m asked who my top 5 favorite rappers are, I say 1a is Hov, without a question. This man is a genius and he wrote the Blueprint (literally & figuratively, which is also my favorite album of his) to truly being self-made. 1b is J. Cole for more reasons I can discuss right now but mainly because I can listen to his music over and over again and it still seems brand new to my ears. He’s always so honest and vulnerable. I can rewatch his interviews without ever getting tired because he’s such a huge inspiration and what he’s been through has motivated me in my lowest moments. Every interview I watch with Cole is just so intriguing. Below are two links to two interviews he’s had throughout his career that I have listened to multiple times each because they’re THAT good. I can’t even begin to name how many times I’ve felt like he knows me and the feelings I have felt and/or feel in my life through songs like St. Tropez, Runaway, Change, and Premeditated Murder (just to name a few).
I am a die-hard J. Cole Stan. I do not and will never tolerate any slander about this man, as long as I am around. It feels like just yesterday when he first came out; I liked his music a lot BUT he completely had me sold when Friday Night Lights was released. It was my sophomore year of high school and I was literally blown away, excited for what more he had in store.
The Monday before his latest album “KOD” dropped he did a surprise, last minute, low-key, listening party here in NYC; of all the days for me to not be on social media as frequently as I am because I was busy freelancing, Cole just had to choose this particular day. By the time I got on Twitter, it had already started and I was devastated. Even though he didn’t blatantly announce it was a listening party, I just knew and was so ready for new music from him.
Below, you’ll get to see some of my favorite lyrics from “KOD”, things that he talked about at the concert, and what each song means to me.
KOD – “Only gone say this one time, then I’ll dip…Niggas ain’t worthy to be on my shit.”
One thing I’ll forever love is a man who is confident in himself and his work. J. Cole is extremely humble but this man knows he is one of the best artists out. His last two albums had no features but since “4 Your Eyez Only” didn’t capture the hearts of as many people as his music usually does fans complained about him not including any other artists on the album. I heard from more than one person that it was a missed opportunity. But maybe you guys forgot that his album “2014 Forest Hills Drive” went platinum, with NO features, so clearly he’s capable of doing that by his lonesome. He also produced this whole album himself. During his interview with Angie Martinez, Cole clarifies that he’s not being full of himself or saying there aren’t other dope artists out right now, he just likes to work by himself, which I completely get. I’m the same way but I learned in college, VERY early on, that with the industry I am in, it’s necessary to have others around that you can bounce ideas off. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses that can help one another.
Photograph – “Damn I love ya sense of humor. You don’t get caught up in rumors. You don’t be talkin’ bout who f**kin’ who and I notice the way you maneuver. Sexy, but never show too much. Ain’t heard from you in like two months. All of a sudden you pop on my line. You could make time stop on a dime. I think you mastered the art of sublime. Your type is harder to find. You could turn water to wine.”
When I had first heard this verse, I was like “Yassssssss! He must know me for real”.It’s a line a lot of real women can relate to. It’s still too hard for me to choose a favorite song but this definitely up there on my list. I can admit wholeheartedly that I have a love/hate relationship with social media. Some days I want to just disappear off it all. Believe me, it is full of pros but sometimes people get so caught up in Instagram, Twitter, etc. and there’s so much more to life. I love personal interactions and connections and it kind of sucks how much the internet and technology have taken away so many of peoples social skills.
The Cut Off – “Stuck in my ways, so I keep on falling down.”
“My heart is big, I want to give too much”
Cutting off bad habits and cutting off people who don’t bring value to your life, I’m here for all of that. I’m at a point in my life where, without denial, I can tell myself “Okay Amirah, you’re trippin’. Do better and get it together”. Right before Cole performed this song at the concert, he had a little talk with his fans. He said sometimes the people closest to us have the ability to hurt us the most. It can be family, ride or die, friends, someone you love and that shit cuts deeps but as he’s getting older he’s learning you gotta know when to cut em’ off. When I tell you guys I FELT THAT, right in the depths of my soul, I really did. My heart is so big and I often want to give as much as I possibly can to help others. It’s truly a blessing and a curse but people will take advantage of that. I remember sitting on my couch, crying to my best friend and she said, “You’re like a glass of water, you keep pouring yourself to give to others and it’s not being reciprocated, you’ll just be empty and that’s not okay.” She dragged me but I needed to hear that. You have to be able to recognize when it’s time to let go of things and people. I can love you from a distance and continue to pray for you but you and you’re negative energy is not welcomed here anymore. Sorry, not sorry; family is included too! *shrugs my shoulders*
“Can’t take it when you die, but you can’t live without it.”
Immediately this video gave me Busta Rhymes “Gimme Some Mo”, ” Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See”, and Missy Elliott “Beep Me 911” video vibes. I’m such a visual person, so when artists put out dope videos or short films I get so happy. “ATM” has a lot of great points. Money shouldn’t be the end all be all but it damn sure is extremely necessary to survive in this world.
Kevin’s Heart –
“All a nigga know is how to f**k a good thing up”
I love men, especially black men, so I won’t go too deep into this quote but let’s just say…I see no lie here.
“Wanna have my cake and another cake too…even if the baker don’t bake like you…even when the flavor don’t taste like you”
This makes me sick to my stomach because this is really how men (not all…I hope) think. They know for a fact they have an amazing woman but there’s still that bit of curiosity and wondering if there is something better out there.
There are at these three double entendres all throughout this song and it took me a while to get each of them. Cole is very clever and an artist who always has you thinking about each lyric.
BRACKETS – The Interlude
The breakdown in this song where Cole talks about taxes and politics makes me just shake my head; looking at my pay stubs and seeing how much money the government takes out makes me do the same. He also talks about this at the concert. We work so hard for our coins and then it gets taken right back from us and put towards God only knows what. As he mentions, we should be able to determine where we want our tax dollars to go. Instead, we put it into the hands of politicians who are sometimes crocked and do not have our (black/brown, poor, middle-class) best interests at heart.
Once An Addict – Cole talking about his childhood and the environment in which he was brought up is so interesting to me. Storytelling is an art form and he does an amazing job at it. Shoutout to his mom too for allowing him to tell her stories and be so personal with the world; she knows it can possibly help others.
FRIENDS – “Got me down, got me low…Rest my mind, rest my soul”
I recorded a 4minute + long video from the concert where Cole talks about three means of KOD, mental health, dealing with pain, and much more. In those few moments, I shed a tear or two with no shame because he really gets it. I’m good for internalizing sadness and not telling anyone when something’s wrong. That’s not okay, at all. Depression and Anxiety are two things I know very well, from dealing with them personally and seeing others around me deal with it too. If you have people to talk to, TALK TO THEM. This year I’ve been able to learn how to better handle situations by meditating, writing, and/or putting my energy from frustrations into something I’m passionate about.
Window Pain (Outro) – “I put my hand to the sky, I sing…Grateful for the blessings you bring…Thank you for the ones I love”
This quote speaks for itself but God is truly amazing. Life isn’t perfect, nothing is nor will it ever be, but I’ve been blessed in so many ways I don’t even know where to begin. I have learned that there are no mistakes and there’s no questioning what he does. My Mom-Mom always tells me “God has a plan for your life” and every day I see it coming forward, even if I don’t understand every single thing that happens in it.
Cole didn’t have to do these lil’ whoever’s like that in this song but he did and I enjoyed every minute of it. Like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, no Cole slander is ever allowed around me; I will shut it down in a heartbeat. A lot of these new rappers are trendy and the hooks on their songs are catchy but the longevity of their careers is questionable. In his interview with Angie Martinez, he even says he respects them because they are in their own lane in hip-hop.
I hope you guys enjoyed this read! Did you listen to “KOD”? How did you feel about it/him? Have you seen him on tour? After reading this post, let me know your thoughts on J.Cole and this album!