Good morning everyone! My name is Matt, your host for today’s Monday Morning Mailbox. Today’s question was asked by Brady M.
Brady M: I just listened to J Cole’s new album, KOD. I have my own interpretations on it; what are your first impressions?
Thank you for your inquiry. This album really hit me with its message, and I have a few things to say about the album.
Controversial topic; I think that KOD is a boring listen. As much as I like the meanings behind what J Cole is rapping about, the album does not get me jumping out of my seat and dancing. It’s not the most exciting album that J Cole has put out, and that’s okay.
Sometimes, with albums with such a dark topic, or albums with a lot to say, the music takes a backseat to the actual message. This is what happened in KOD. If I wanted a fun listen of J Cole, I would pop in 2014 Forest Hills Drive in lieu of KOD. Either way, KOD is a great album, and I do not want others to think I do not think it is.
Okay, on to the message of the album; KOD to me is just about cultural impact. I think that J Cole is issuing a warning to other rappers and other musicians to realize how much power they have when they produce music. Rap and hip-hop, in this case, is the cool genre for kids to listen to. Because rap artists have so much power in today’s society, the listeners naturally want to emulate and even imitate their idols; these idols being rappers such as Kendrick Lamar, J Cole, or Chance. J Cole wants to make sure that today’s heroes and idols are putting out good music, but more importantly, putting out good messages and lifestyle choices.
Specifically, J Cole is trying to warn the younger generation of rappers such as 6ix9ine, xxxtentacion, Lil Pump, and Lil Uzi Vert. These rappers are hard partiers; they pop pills, they smoke, they drink. J Cole wants them to realize that by acting this way, the kids want to follow those same terrible drug adopting habits. These addictions appear glamorous; they hurt more than the rappers, but almost anyone who listens to them and follows those lifestyle choices. This is very important. Especially with the recent death of Lil Peep, these messages about drug abuse is still fresh and important.
Lil Pump is the main rapper that J Cole wants to address throughout the album. J Cole is not dissing Lil Pump or any other rapper like him, but instead provide him with advice to avoid the pitfalls in the lifespan of a rapper. The things that J Cole tell Lil Pump is not to be offensive, more but of a tough love kind of message.
J Cole raps “I don’t mean no disrespect” EVERYWHERE through the album. He’s not trying to talk bad about anyone, but he just wants to message of hip-hop to be a positive one. These repercussions of such a bad music culture will unfold to gang violence, drug addiction, and poor lifestyle choices overall.
KOD is a great album, with a very important message behind it. Give it a listen; what I’m describing about it here can’t do it justice.
– Matt Cuartero