After J. Cole made some noticeable changes to social media accounts this week, fans began speculating that the North Carolina rapper was gearing up to release new material. Hours later, Cole confirmed his latest project, KOD, would arrive on 4/20.
On Thursday night, Cole unleashed KOD on all major streaming services. Stream it on Apple Music/iTunes or below via Spotify.
Because it was a relatively abrupt release, there was initially a lot of mystery surrounding Jermaine’s fifth studio album; however, it was eventually confirmed that the project would tackle the ongoing issue of drug abuse. For one, KOD was an abbreviation for “Kids on Drugs,” “King Overdosed,” and “Kill Our Demons,” as confirmed in the album’s newly released trailer. The 1-minute and 43-second video explained the relevance of each title, thus confirming the album’s exploration of substance abuse on both societal and personal levels. The use of an alter ego named kiLL edward also suggests the project will be at least partly told from a perspective that isn’t Cole's; the rapper reportedly took this approach for 2016’s 4 Your Eyez Only.
The album’s cover art, which was created by Detroit’s Sixmau, includes the following disclaimer: “This album is in no way intended to glorify addiction”; however, it’s initially unclear what kind of message Cole is trying to convey. If it’s not glorify drug abuse, is it condemning it? Well, it seem the rapper is letting the listeners decide: “The rest of the album I leave to your interpretation,” Cole tweeted just hours before KOD’s release.