J. Cole delivers on long-awaited album “The Off-Season”


J. Cole poses on the cover of his new album “The-Off-Season.”

After a three-year wait, Jermaine Cole, popularly known as J. Cole released his sixth studio titled album, The-Off-Season on May 14th.

The Fayetteville native rolled out his album in a smooth fashion by dropping “i n t e r l u d e” a week before the release of his album. The two-minute song would quickly grab everyone’s attention, making people even more eager to listen to the album.

The lead single, and his freestyle on the L.A. Leakers would preview the heavy, lyrical bars and aggressive beats that would later be seen on his album. Also, the “Applying Pressure: The Off-Season Documentary” that was released on May 10th, showed Cole’s fans this project wasn’t to be taken lightly, and that we would be seeing his best work.

The project showcases Cole’s legacy in the hip hop industry as it had many impressive producers on the album, from T-Minus all the way to Timbaland.

At midnight Spotify appeared to be down momentarily as everyone attempted to listen to the album.

The first song begins with an intro by the legendary rapper, Cam’ron. Then, Cole wasted no time by jumping in with his fast-paced and lyrical verses.

This energy continues throughout the entire album, as the artist raps the entirety of all of his songs, rarely including a chorus. Fans quickly jumped to social media to discuss which were their favorite bars on the project.

At moments it feels as if Cole is simply freestyling due to the lack of organization, such as little to no beat switches or bridges. I was a tad disappointed as I thought the production would be more complex due to 14 producers being on the project.

“Look, I love J. Cole and all but…I can’t believe I’m saying this, but this album was mid,” senior Leslie Mendez said. “I expected more.”

Some fans were happy with the short simple song structures since every lyric was powerful.

On previous albums, Cole would address universal issues, such as love, addiction, and insecurities. However, on ‘The Off-Season’ he would rap about previous beefs, other rappers and boast about his career.

There were many highlights on the album such as when Cole continued his motif on basketball by referencing numerous players and even sampling a Damian Lillard interview at the beginning of “p u n c h i n ‘ . t h e . c l o c k.”

A surprising moment and personally my favorite song, was when Morray and 21 Savage were featured on the song “m y . l i f e.” Known for not including features on his albums, fans were shocked, especially to hear Lil Baby on the song “p r i d e . i s . t h e . d e v i l.”

“My favorite song is the “p r i d e . i s . t h e . d e v i l”, I felt that Lil Baby carried on that one,” senior Ahmed Hashi said.

Forty-three minutes after its release, ‘The Off-Season’ reached #1 on US iTunes.

From a lyrical viewpoint, this album ranks high among J. Cole’s other albums. However, this album lacks structure compared to other works such as “2014 Forest Hills Drive” and “KOD.”

Regardless of my minor criticism, it’s clear that the album is adored by many. Fans rejoicing and music listeners were impressed as Cole proves that he is the best rapper of this generation.

“Mr. Jermaine created a phenomenal piece of art that was truly touching. His lyrics were eloquent, his flow indelible and his storytelling truly impeccable,” senior Mitchell Huynh said.