On KOD, J. Cole’s ruminations on black America and the state of the union are still present but are less objective reporting and more acquired wisdom from his life as a reluctant superstar. KOD‘s production is minimal throughout, clearing space for Cole’s elegantly spun stories of opportunistic friends, modern-day drug culture, and the guilt that success can bring.
With KOD now having been out a week (April 26) it’s time to break down the tracks and rank them from least favorite to most favorite.
J. Cole revealed his top three tracks from the album, and just like him, I’m sure my order will change by next week.
Window Pain. Then Brackets and The Cut Off. Check back with me it will change https://t.co/x7CUQ4KFVI
— J. Cole (@JColeNC) April 26, 2018
Here’s my list from least flames to most flames.
No. 12 – “Intro”
It really shouldn’t be ranked since it’s an “intro,” however, so is “1985” and it ranks pretty high.
No. 11 – “Once an Addict”
My least favorite song from the album (other than the “Intro”), but in no way is it a bad song.
No. 10 – “Motiv8”
Cole raps about being motivated to get money, something he repeats throughout the song & chorus. The song even samples the 1995 classic “Get Money” chorus from Junior Mafia.
No. 9 – “The Cut Off” (feat. kiLL edward)
KiLL edward’s catchy chorus sets the tone as a drug fiend, but Cole wants none of that. He admits to cutting out certain individuals from life to keep progressing as an individual.
No. 8 – “Kevin’s Heart”
The second music video from his album. Cole takes on the perspective of a drug abuser and makes continuous references to Xanax and blunts that are used to cope and possibly lead to cheating on his love interest. Remember to “choose wisely.”
No. 7 – “Window Pain” (Outro)
This track employs a powerful message from a child narrator, who explains the story of his cousin being shot. Cole responds to him on the outro, “So why do y’all think that bad stuff happen? Like why can’t the world just be all nice things?” The kid pauses for a second before answering with wisdom beyond his years. “[God’s] coming back to have us be his children and for us to see him for the first time so we can rejoice with him and have our time. And after we do that, he’s gonna restart the world.”
No. 6 – “ATM”
As the name of the song suggests, “ATM” is all about the money.” The song that looks at the pursuit of money and subsequent sacrifices along the way. Cole notes the irony that, though money has no worth after death, it’s all people tend to chase during life and has proved plenty of times before that those who chase after material things will never be satisfied.
No. 5 – “Brackets”
As Cole rises up the tax brackets, he knows his money isn’t being distributed to the right places. It’s clear he feels the tax system is broken and is in need of a heavy revamp. Although his idea of voting from an app on our phones sounds better than letting “whack congressmen” make decisions for us.
No. 4 – “FRIENDS” (feat. kiLL edward)
Cole attempts to break down the reason why people turn to drugs at various points in life. On the chorus, Cole’s alter ego kiLL edward, explains why he needs narcotics to boost his inferior mindstate. With many rappers glorifying drug use, Jermaine contests that’s not the right coping mechanism to deal with issues.
No. 3 – “Photograph”
“Photograph” is a smooth joint, and yet another example of J. Cole’s smooth, well-oiled flow. This track describes Cole finding a girl’s picture on social media and sliding in her DM’s. Social media these days can be seen as a drug, relating to the album’s title.
No. 2 – “1985” (Intro to “The Fall Off”)
The project ends with arguably his strongest bars off the album. Many think it was aimed towards Lil Pump and SmokePurpp, however, Cole, later on, stated the song is for whoever the shoe fits.
No. 1 – “KOD”
The album’s title track takes on a possible three names, “Kids on Drugs,” “King Overdosed,” or “Kill Our Demons.” Cole flexes towards the audience and his competition on the first verse, whilst simultaneously addressing comments about features on his album. The second verse and the chorus of the song elaborate more about Cole’s youth and the drugs that his surroundings got him involved in.
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