“Middle Child” is J. Cole’s first solo single since 2013, when he dropped four official singles (“Power Trip,” “Crooked Smile,” “Forbidden Fruit,” “She Knows”) and a promotional single (“Miss America”) for Born Sinner. This new track comes in the wake of his last three albums, 2014 Forest Hills Drive, 4 Your Eyez Only, and KOD, which each arrived without traditional album rollouts. Of course, at this point, we have no idea where “Middle Child” will land. It seems more likely this will be on his next solo album or mixtape than the  Revenge of the Dreamers III compilation, but it could also be a one-off that never lands on a larger body of work. Regardless, it’s worth noting that he has formally released a solo single for the first time in over five years (with its own middle child-themed Instagram promotional run). We might be in store for our first traditional album rollout from Cole in years. —Eric Skelton

Also Watch

Close