The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Saturday January 23rd

Whatever, Trevor: Will J. Cole's "KOD" be corny?

J. Cole — Fayetteville native, Dreamville rapper, and the king of going platinum with no features — is corny. The surprise announcement of the Friday release of “KOD,” his fifth major studio album, likely isn’t going to change that perception. 

Cole has made a name for himself through the successful releases of four studio albums: “Cole World: The Sideline Story,” “Born Sinner,” “2014 Forest Hills Drive” and “4 Your Eyez Only.” He’s risen to rap stardom over the past decade, amassing millions of diehard, unapologetic fans. 

But he’s corny. 

We’re talking about the rapper who literally wrote a song called “Foldin Clothes.” He wanted to write a song about making his wife “feel good,” so he thought there was no better way of making her feel good by doing household chores – specifically, folding clothes – and then naming the song exactly that. 

That’s corny. 

But that’s also who J. Cole is, and everyone — both fans and critics — know this by now. 

And the tracklist for “KOD” certainly doesn’t indicate that we’re getting anything different than what we’ve seen in the past. 

I’m not going to talk about the album art (which is dope), or the supposed existence of an alter ego called “kiLL Edward” (which is lame), or about how it’s laudable that Cole is producing an album centering around drug abuse and his (or maybe his friends’) experiences with addiction. I’m simply looking at each track, and providing an analysis of the songs solely based on their titles.

“Intro” will likely follow the same structure that past introductory tracks from his albums used: a relaxing beat, some sort of voiceover or soft crooning, and then a brief crescendo where Cole raps a few lines before ultimately ending what will be a one- or two-minute track. Nothing special; just an introduction to his album. 
According to fans who attended a private listening session for the album, “KOD” stands for three things: Kids on Drugs, King Overdose and Kill Our Demons. So, this track will probably have three verses, with each one incorporating each meaning of “KOD,” which makes sense and will probably be dope, honestly. 
How many artists have made songs called “Photograph"? A hundred? A thousand? 15 million? All of them? 
The Cut Off feat. kiLL Edward
“The Cut Off,” a song in an album about drug addiction, will likely be about the interruption of said addiction. Cole will probably say something predictable like, “I was using drugs / Now I’m not / That’s the cut off / Cole!” 
Do you know what people use to acquire drugs? Money. Do you know where you can get money from? An ATM. Boom — that’s what “ATM” is about. Also very predictable. 
“Motiv8,” which is the word “motivate” but spelled with an “8” for some reason, will likely be about motivation, a thing people need when going through tough times. But you probably couldn’t grasp that from the title. 
Kevin’s Heart
Why? Why, Jermaine?  I have nothing to say. I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed. Really, really, really disappointed. 
I have no idea what “BRACKETS” will be about, to be honest.
Once an Addict (Interlude)
If Cole is indeed rapping about his problematic drug use and the troubles it gave him, and how he was once an addict, then he needs a more unique title.
FRIENDS feat. kiLL Edward
You know who probably helped Cole get through tough times? His acquaintances. More specifically, his friends. That would make a great title for a song, right? 
Window Pain (Outro)
I imagine Cole was thinking, “I’ve dealt with painful shit in my life... You know what rhymes with pain? ‘Pane.’ Like in a window. ‘Window pane?’ So I’ll call this song ‘Window Pain.’ Get it? It’s dope, right? It’s definitely dope.” No, it is not dope. 
1985 (Intro to “The Fall Off”)
To finish the album, he has a song titled “1985,” because no one ever writes songs using their birth dates as titles. Nope, no one, not even J. Cole. 

So, KOD might be slightly corny, or averagely corny, or the corniest of corny corns. And it probably won’t matter. 

J. Cole’s most avid fans and most zealous critics — although not seeing eye to eye on whether or not his music is lyrically impressive or conceptually intricate and original — generally can agree on one thing: somehow, his music conveys a sense of sincerity and familiarity that is attractive to millions of young adults, and that’s enough to overcome any potential deficiencies as an artist.  

KOD could be the corniest rap album of all time and his fans wouldn’t care. 

I’m one of his fans — and I likely won’t care how corny it is, either. 

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.


The Daily Tar Heel for December 7, 2020

Special Print Edition

Games & Horoscopes

Print Edition Games Archive