When it comes to turn up music I think we are very well supplied. But in a genre where beats are becoming increasingly important and guys can afford to be sloppy with their pronounciation because most people don’t really care about the lyrics anyways it is very necessary to hear something meaningful from time to time. The way I see it, Rap is poetry skillfully placed over music. According to the Merriam-Webster, the definition of poetry is “writing that formulates a concentrated imaginative awareness of experience in language chosen and arranged to create a specific emotional response through meaning, sound, and rhythm”. Long story short; great rap is poetry, therefore not all rap is great rap.
Now let me tell you, this new J.Cole album titled “KOD” is some real good poetry. KOD, according to J.Cole himself, has three meanings, “Kids on Drugs”, “King Overdosed” and “Kill Our Demons”. He addresses the major issue that nowadays, instead of facing their issues, people turn to medication, alcohol and drugs as a form of escape. Yeah, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that he released it on 4/20. In the intro of this album a woman’s voice says “Life can bring much pain, there are many ways to deal with this pain, choose wisely”. This line is a reappearing theme through multiple songs of the album and on “Once An Addict (Interlude)” Cole even addresses his own mother’s alcohol addiction.
The two songs “The Cut Off” and “FRIENDS” both feature a persona called “kiLL edward” who J. Cole uses as a rhetorical device to show a contrasting insight into the mind of a person who fell victim to drug addiction. In “FRIENDS” J. Cole hits us with a super real, honest and very wise line: “I understand this message is not the coolest to say, but if you down to try it I know a better way, meditate”. At this point I want to highly recommend a netflix documentary to you called “Feel Rich” which amongst others features personalities like Common and Russell Simmons and speaks about physical and mental health. Truss mi!
Another thing, that is usually glorified in rap lyrics nowadays, just like taking drugs, is infidelity. J. Cole addresses this in the context of drug addiction on “Kevin’s Heart” saying “I love her, I don’t want to lose her, I’m selfish, I know that I use her, My ego get stroked and I bruise her (…) On the road I’m a mac, I’m a chooser, I’m a addict, I’m maskin that”.
However his most epic verse on the whole album has to be the one on “BRACKETS”:
“Better yet, let me decide, bitch, it’s 2018
Let me pick the things I’m funding from an app on my screen
Better that than letting wack congressman I’ve never seen
Dictate where my money go, straight into the palms of some money-hungry company that make guns that circulate the country and then wind up in my hood, making bloody clothes
Stray bullet hit a young boy with a snotty nose
From the concrete, he was prolly rose
Now his body froze and nobody knows what to tell his mother”
Yeah I will just leave this right her. This is some powerful poetry right here people. Also, listen to the little boy’s response to why bad things happen in the world on the “Window Pain (Outro)”. Oh and “1985” where J. Cole fires some serious shots at a certain rapper, whose name I won’t mention but remember when I said “not all rap is great rap”. Yeah. That track is also the intro to “The Fall Off” which is speculated to be J. Cole’s next album.