J. Cole has come through with his first release of 2019 in the form of "MIDDLE CHILD." The record, produced by T-Minus, finds the rapper focused on the competition, which he teased in since-deleted Instagram posts earlier this week:
I'm counting my bullets
I’m loading my clips
I'm writing down names
I'm making a list
The song sample's First Choice's "Wake Up to Me":
Cole and T-Minus previously linked up on two records in 2018; "Kevin's Heart" off KOD and 6lack's "Pretty Little Fears." They were also both present during the sessions for Dreamville Records' upcoming project Revenge of the Dreamers III, which wrapped up last week.
Producer Illmind caught a preview of the song and shared his early thoughts on it:
Prior to the release of "MIDDLE CHILD," Cole shared a number of tweets of public figures who are, well, the middle child of their family:
Listen to it below via YouTube or bump it on other streaming services here. "MIDDLE CHILD" counts as Cole's first official single release since 2013. Keep in mind, he's opted to release his album in full for his last three; 2014 Forest Hills Drive, 4 Your Eyez Only, and KOD.
The Dreamville boss shouts out a number of rappers on the record, including Drake, Kodak Black, JAY-Z, and 21 Savage, and declares he's the "greatest right now."
The Drake nod also includes some words on beef when it comes to the world of Cole:
Just put the Rollie right back on my wrist
This watch came from Drizzy, he gave me a gift
Back when the rap game was praying I’d diss
They act like two legends cannot coexist
But I’d never beef with a nigga for nothing
If I smoke a rapper it’s gone be legit
At press time, it's unclear where "MIDDLE CHILD" will land. J. Cole has announced two solo projects since the release of KOD; The Fall Off was mentioned in the title of album closer "1985," while the rapper said The Off Season was coming soon in the YouTube description for his "Album of the Year (Freestyle)" video. According to a press release, Cole is "currently in the studio working on completing his sixth studio album."
There's also the possibility that it's tied to Revenge of the Dreamers III, which has been a source of inspiration for Cole.
Either way, Cole ain't playing around.