J. Cole is in album mode…we hope. The Dreamville commander-in-chief kicked off 2023 by wiping his Instagram, which has led fans to believe that he might be preparing to release the next project in his “Fall Off Era.” Cole first revealed the plans for his “final” run of projects back in November 2019 when he shared a series of album titles under the “Fall Off Era” banner, including The Off-Season, It’s A Boy, and finally The Fall Off.
“A long-term plan of becoming the best rapper I could possibly be before hanging up my jersey, leaving nothing on the table when all was said and done. The seeds for The Fall Off were planted,” Cole wrote in an essay for The Players’ Tribune in 2020. “The fire that was once dying out has returned, and for that I’m grateful. On my career bucket list, there remain a few more items to check off before I give myself permission to enter whatever the next chapter of my life may be.”
We already got The Off-Season in May 2021, along with an extensive basketball-themed rollout that included Cole becoming the first rapper to be on the cover of SLAM magazine and his professional basketball debut in Rwanda. Since then, Cole has gone on tour, headlined several festivals including Rolling Loud New York, Governors Ball, and his own Dreamville Festival, as well as worked with a plethora of established and up-and-coming artists like Smino, Bia, and more. All the while, his next project (rumored to be titled It’s A Boy) has been lurking in the background as J. Cole continues to meticulously check off a few more goals before he scrams.
Cole hasn’t explicitly said anything about It’s A Boy yet, but with the series of bread crumbs he’s left behind over the last 4 years, here are our biggest theories about his seventh studio album, ranging from extremely plausible and strong to pretty mid and weak.