J. Cole is back. After spending the final months of 2018 jumping on songs with everyone from 21 Savage to Anderson .Paak, he began 2019 as the orchestrator of Dreamville’s star-studded rap camp. Now, he’s opened a new chapter with the release of a T-Minus-produced single, “Middle Child.”
Cole isn’t a middle child in reality—he has only one older brother—but he uses the idea as a metaphor for his place in hip-hop (between the “lil’ n****s” and the “OGs”) while he warns the rest of the industry that he has no plans of sliding into the background. “I studied the greats, I'm the greatest right now,” he raps over triumphant production. As we enter a new era for Cole, these are the five biggest takeaways from his new single.