by J. ColeJ. Cole


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If the cover of 4 Your Eyez Only didn't send a clear enough signal regarding J. Cole's disinterest in supplying listeners with an entertaining diversion, the dystopian cereal-box-look of the follow-up, replete with an obvious disclaimer, should get the point across. Moreover, the acronymic title of the rapper/producer's fifth album stands for Kids on Drugs, King Overdosed, and Kill Our Demons. Unremittingly joyless, the set is nonetheless commendable for an absence of creative compromise and reflects the time as accurately as any other contemporaneous release. It's related exclusively by an alternately cold-blooded and nearly desensitized Cole, twice present in pitched-down form as a hollowed-out addict named kiLL edward. Only one track is neither produced nor co-produced by Cole. The beats are often listless and skeletal, accessorized with bleary keyboards, fitting no one's conception of ear candy, though they complement the lyrical content. The primary theme indeed is addiction -- not only to chemicals, but to technology and consumerism as well -- with contextual allusions to its causes and bleak illustrations of its effects. Most compelling of all is "Once an Addict," a regretful reflection on struggling as a child and young man to cope with the toll heartbreak and alcohol took on his mother. Cole's few departures from the narrative method are sometimes for the worse, such as the point on "KOD" where he gets combative about the lack of guests on his records and deflates boastful rationale with some of his weakest wordplay. Two other instances conversely make for highlights. "Brackets" sharply turns from a millionaire bleating about paying taxes to a detailed treatise on who does and doesn't benefit from the process. Finale "1985 (Intro to 'The Fall Off')" is straight talk directed at a certain sect of younger commercial rappers, mixing sharp cultural commentary with condescension and guidance: "These white kids love that you don't give a fuck/'Cause that's exactly what's expected when your skin black." As the value of Cole's witticisms, and the intellect required to decrypt full meaning of his verses, continues to be debated, the increased strength in his clear-cut writing evinces promise of greater work ahead.

Product Details

Release Date: 04/20/2018
Label: Interscope Records
UPC: 0810760031929
catalogNumber: 002848702
Rank: 6718

Album Credits

Performance Credits

J. Cole   Primary Artist

Technical Credits

Richard Pryor   Composer
Bill Withers   Composer
Roy Ayers   Composer
Quincy Jones   Composer
Michal Urbaniak   Composer
Alan Bergman   Composer
Marilyn Bergman   Composer
Sammy Cahn   Composer
John Dankworth   Composer
Wayne Garfield   Composer
Francis Hime   Composer
Takehiro Honda   Composer
Jay Livingston   Composer
James Bedford   Composer
Richard Clay   Composer
Sylvia Striplin   Composer
Jorge Barreiro   Composer
Nicholas Brodszky   Composer
Carl Clay   Composer
Christopher Wallace   Composer
Lamont Porter   Composer
Mark Pellizzer   Composer
Jermaine Cole   Composer
Tyler Williams   Composer
Ron Gilmore   Composer
Raymond Evans   Composer

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