2018, IS J. COLE GRAMMY READY?
22nd October, 2018
22nd October, 2018
Jermaine kicked the year off early with release of his fifth studio album, Kids on Drugs(KOD), on April 20 through Dreamville Records, Roc Nation and Interscope Records. The album touches on a variety of topics ranging from addiction, greed, taxation and drug abuse in the United States. While his previous album 4 Your Eyez Only (4YEO) offered a more sober and reflective take on gang violence, depression and mortality. KOD focuses on an equally grave issue but with a lighter touch, dare I say, a more sonically digestible take on addiction. However it has a 73 score on Metacritic, two points lower than 4YEO which sits at 75.
Cole has always exceled in conscious rap, he takes a more accommodating and almost patronizing approach to trap music in this project (Eminem on Kamikaze, offers a more vicious take). Commercially, KOD was a huge success as expected, breaking both streaming records on Apple and Spotify on the day of its release. Cole also became the first musician to simultaneously debut three new songs inside the top 10 of the US Billboard Hot
100 with “ATM’’ (6), “Kevin’s Heart’’ (8) and “KOD” (10).
However with the notable absence of a Kendrick album in 2018, KOD faces stiff competition from other formidable hip-hop albums released this year in the chase for a Grammy in the Rap Album category; DAYTONA, Scorpion, Kids See Ghosts, Book Of Ryan, YSIV, Kamikaze, Room 25, Carter V, NASIR, Redemption, Invasion of Privacy and Everything Thing Is Love. For neutrals, 2018 has been an amazing year for hip-hop but for Cole fans, we simply cannot shake the apprehension that KOD might be a few bars short in the pursuit of the ever elusive Grammy Awards.
Cole has taken his artistry a notch further and brushed up his interpersonal skills by becoming more accessible, since the release of 2014 Forest Hills Drive, he has pretty much kept to himself by almost entirely avoiding features and guest features on his albums, but in 2018, Cole decided to let us more into his space and he, ours. He also become more active on social media, tweeting his unabashed support for Colin Kapernick and touching other socio-political issues. There seems to be a marked difference in Cole, he seems to have shed his cocoon and we are loving every minute of the friendly neighbourhood J. Cole.
The best part of the Cole year has been the features, ironic isn’t it? The mantra of every Cole fan since 2014 has been ‘Cole went platinum with no features, double platinum even’, touting it in every conversation. Begs to wonder if Jermaine has short-changed himself by isolation for so long. As much as we like to believe in a fair process, majority of these awards are political and acceptance by all, not just your fans, is key to recognition. Each feature has brought out a different side of Cole, depth and flair to each song, basically hijacking the songs and making them his, except of course for Wale’s My Boy, both rappers were simply on god-mode. I am quite upset that Cole hasn’t stretched himself more, flexed his abilities and tested his limits. In retrospect, Cole would have opened himself to other sounds, productions and ultimately attained more recognition than he currently has but we did enjoy the exclusivity it brought us, remember this? You need a higher level of understanding to vibe to J. Cole, I can’t count the number of times a Cole stan has used this rebuttal (our bragging right). Good times, or were they? Just recently @billboard tweeted a clip ranking all Cole features in 2018, you can view the clip below
I made my own list due to personal preference, you should share yours,
- Wale – My Boy
- 6lack – Pretty Little Fears
- Royce da 5’9’’ – Boblo Boat
- Bas – Tribe
- Jay Rock – OSOM