REVIEW: ‘KOD’ by J. Cole is storytelling at its finest


Photo courtesy of Eddy Rissling / CC BY 2.0

J. Cole performs at London Music Hall on Jan. 21 2014. His new album “KOD” was released on April 20 and has a powerful message about drug abuse.

J. Cole dropped his new album “KOD,” and people — including me — are thrilled about the return of the Fayetteville, North Carolina hip-hop legend.

If the music you want to hear is music you can dance to in the club, this album is not for you.

This album is storytelling at its finest.

Cole tweeted that the album has 3 meanings — Kids on Drugs, King Overdosed and Kill our Demons.

“The rest of the album I leave to your interpretation,” he said.

Cole is using the album’s release date, April 20 — an unofficial holiday known for marijuana use — as an opportunity to talk about drug abuse and the struggles a drug user’s peers and family go through.

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It appears that Cole is being depicted as a king on the album’s cover, smoking while children using drugs are sitting below him.

“KOD” illustrates the frustration that Cole has with popular rappers, and he tries to bring attention to the influence that rappers have on children — especially when they depict drug use in their music.

Cole recognizes that he’s not devoid of problems himself, and mentions that he is fighting his own demons in the the song “Intro.”

“Lies sand that represents the past in which all of my demons rest,” the lyrics say.

Cole raps about the abuse of both illegal drugs and medicine — marijuana, percocet, xanax and codeine cough syrup — while discussing other things that can be addicting like power, greed and love, “the strongest drug of them all,” according to Cole in the song “KOD.”

Cole seemed to pour his heart into the song “Once an Addict,” in which he raps about how his mother uses alcohol to deal with her problems, and the way that it affected him.

“Depression’s such a villainous state,” he says in the song. “I used to stay out later on purpose. Subconsciously I was nervous that if I came home early, then what would surface was her inner demons, and then I’d have to end up seeing my hero on ground zero.”

He ends the song by warning listeners to make good choices when deciding how to deal with the pain that comes with life.

Cole brings up the impact of young rappers in the song “1985,” and questions why more rappers aren’t writing conscious rap. He says in the song that it may be because they are only 18 years old, so money and partying is on their mind.

“Plus, you having fun, and I respect that, but have you ever thought about your impact,” Cole says in the song.

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People have already started responding to the powerful messages carried throughout “KOD,” and the album hasn’t even been out for 24 hours.

If you like listening to albums that have a strong message, “KOD” is the album to listen to.