It’s been a minute since we’ve kept up with J. Cole. The North Carolina MC isn’t one for the spotlight, but he’s been keeping busy behind-the-scenes since the drop of his 2018 album K.O.D. As we gear up for the highly anticipated The Off Season dropping on Friday, we round up all the things you might have missed the star get up to in its preparation.
Revenge of the Dreamers III
Cole’s own iconic record label Dreamville is home to a number of artists, including JID, Bas and Ari Lennox, which makes these compilation albums all the more exciting. In July 2019, the label dropped their third Revenge of the Dreamers joint album as well as a thirty-minute accompanying documentary called Dreamville Presents: Revenge. Supported by J. Cole’s hit ‘MIDDLE CHILD’, the album topped the Billboard 200 and earned a Grammy nomination for ‘Best Rap Album.’
‘Snow on tha Bluff’ and controversy
In June 2020, J. Cole released his first track for the year ‘Snow on the Bluff’; a political track that dropped at the height of the murder of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement. Fans speculated the track was a diss to Chicago rapper and activist Noname, who days before had taken to Twitter to call out top Black rappers for staying quiet during the movement. In the track, J. Cole references an unnamed “young woman” who is angry online and later took to Twitter to essentially confirm Noname was the inspiration. A few other rappers such as Chance the Rapper and Earl Sweatshirt chimed in on the controversy and Noname ended up making a diss track in response. Yikes. We hope all is friendly in the rapperverse again.
Dreamville Fest 2019
A long project in the making, and one that has suffered its fair share of outer complications, Dreamville Fest is a one-day festival that aims to bring a celebration for hip-hop music into North Carolina, J. Cole’s home state. Featuring Dreamville artists and other popular rappers, the festival aims to stay an annual event but so far has only happened once due to Covid-19. So, until fans can rejoice in the festival once again, they’ll just have to revisit the 2019 highlights.
Lewis Street EP
In 2020 J. Cole dropped Lewis Street, an EP containing just two tracks: ‘The Climb Back’ and ‘Lion King on Ice.’ Both tracks serve as the first singles off his teased future album The Fall Off, a news reveal that generated a ton of buzz from fans. While there’s no date yet as to when The Fall Off will be dropping, Lewis Street gives us a thrilling insight into what we can look forward to.
COLE x PUMA
Fulfilling a lifelong dream, J. Cole teamed up with PUMA in February last year to design his very own line of sneakers. The RS Dreamers were the first drop, featuring a sleek black and rainbow design and functionality to move on and off the basketball court with ease. The same went for second model Dreamer 2, dropped earlier this year, except swapping out the original design is now a cool yellow and black with PUMA’s latest RS technology to truly help athletes perform their best. Both designs are available to purchase here.
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Personal Essay: ‘The Audacity’
The Players Tribune is a media platform that publishes real stories and essays from professional athletes, in the hopes that their message will reach someone who really needs to hear it. Which is in part why it was so shocking to see J. Cole had published his own essay to the site last year, also because the rapper has kept his personal life reasonably private throughout his career. ‘The Audacity’ is a 3500-word piece, written by J. Cole himself, detailing every inch of his life up until now and the lessons and values he’s learnt along the way. In it, he reveals he’s a father to two children and that he’s contemplating retirement after his upcoming projects.
@PlayersTribune for the platform. ❤️https://t.co/XGE47bqhGy
— J. Cole (@JColeNC) July 20, 2020
The Off-Season and documentary
Two years after his last solo release, J. Cole has announced his new album The Off-Season will drop May 14 and the accompanying doco Applying Pressure will drop May 11. A deliberate and calculated move, The Off-Season is only part of The Fall Off era the rapper is approaching, with supposedly two more albums set to arrive in the future. While there isn’t much to know about The Off-Season yet, fans are already anticipating an excellent album. Thankfully we don’t have to wait long!
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Pre-save J. Cole’s new album The Off Season here.