Though there’s still a lot of mystery surrounding J. Cole’s studio album KOD, there’s one subject that seems to play a big role in the upcoming project: drugs.
According to music journalist Brian “B.Dot” Miller, the album has three different subtitles: “Kidz on Drugs,” “King Overdose,” and “Kill Our Demonz.” The theme of substance abuse, specifically among the youth, was further highlighted in KOD’s recently revealed cover art. It was a vibrant painting that depicted Cole as a clearly medicated king standing over several children consuming illegal substances.
Near the top of the art was a disclaimer that read, “This album is in no way intended to glorify addiction.”
Shortly after the album art was unveiled, the team at Vibe spoke to the man behind the painting: 22-year-old Detroit artist Kamau Haroon, a.k.a. Sixmau. The creative spoke about his initial interest in art, signature techniques, various inspiration sources, as well as working with Jermaine.
“Cole discovered my work through Childish Major, who is another rapper I was doing art for,” Sixmaur told Vibe, before being asked about Cole’s vision for the art. “I can’t talk much about his vision. You’re going to have to listen to the album. It all ties in together. It was definitely a collaboration. It was a marriage of art and music. He told me what direction he was going in and then he gave me freedom to portray it how I wanted.”
The artist recently tweeted that he and Cole were in the studio watching the All-Star Game when he created the album’s cover.
Sixmau also confirmed to Vibe that KOD has multiple meanings; however, he made sure to keep details to a minimum.
“From what I’ve heard on the album it’s really raw,” he said. “It’s gonna touch on a lot of topics from new perspectives that people aren’t willing to speak on typically.”
Sounds like the album is going to deliver something really good—not that we had any doubts before.
You can read Sixmau's full Q&A at Vibe's website. KOD is set to drop this Friday.