Charlie’s Corner: J Cole K.O.D Review

Charlie Singleton, writer

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A friend recently recommended that I listen to J. Cole, one of the biggest rappers on the scene today. I don’t normally listen to popular modern rap artists, but I gave J. Cole a listen. He had dropped an album on Friday, April 20, and I was simply blown away. K.O.D is J. Cole’s fifth album, and its title has three different meanings; Kids on Drugs, Kill Our Demons, and King Overdose. The album addresses heavy problems in the youth, politics, and modern mainstream artists. The first thing I noticed by J. Cole’s style is that he isn’t just flexing over the people he writes about. Instead, he creates his songs using excellent rhyme and writing to present backed up facts. For example, the song “Motiv8” shines light on how many of the political issues coming up today trace back to the big problems that America has been dealing with for decades, yet it remains an entertaining song.

The few problems I have with this album are petty in comparison to the things that make it great, but the K.O.D. does have some issues. The beats in some of the songs kind of seem quiet and unmelodic compared to other big artists of today and times past. If he could emphasize the beat’s melody to harmonize more with his vocals I feel some of the tracks would improve significantly. Another thing I noticed is that songs like “K.O.D,” “Photograph,” “ATM,” and “Motiv8” have very similar structure, with the same pattern of intro singing, verse, chorus, second verse, chorus, and outro singing. I noticed this on my third listen of the album, and the lyrical structure doesn’t vary much.

Overall, K.O.D by J. Cole is one of my personal favorite hip hop albums released thus far in 2018. The writing results in one of the best hip hop lyrics that I have enjoyed since Tupac and Biggie. My favorite track on the album is it’s finale “1985,” for the writing and rhythm are extraordinarily agreeable.

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