The real is back, after his 2018 album ‘KOD’. J Cole has released his 6th studio album titled ‘The Off Season’. The rollout for this album has been phenomenal. Cole has gone on the LA Leakers show and is the first-ever solo artist to grace the cover of the Slam magazine. He also treated his fans to an insightful documentary on his YouTube channel.
At first, when ‘The Off Season’ came out, there were no features listed on it, but as you’re listening, a few surprise names make appearances. From the very first track hip hop legend Cam’ron starts things off and gets everyone pumped up for the greatness they are about to take in. Cole then takes over and flexes with the numbers he always sells when he drops a project. His tone then changes, and he completely spazzes out with dazzling wordplay. He throws in a great Mario Kart bar and a basketball reference which is a regular occurrence throughout the album. We even get a Lil Jon sample at the end. Everything about the intro is perfect.
The first official surprise feature comes in when 21 Savage appears on ‘My Life’ with the talented Morray. 21 and Cole have excellent chemistry when they work together. They create a beautiful song and rap about how life is coming from the hood.
More notable surprise features come in the form of Lil Baby on ‘Pride Is The Devil’. On this track, Cole brilliantly samples Amine’s song ‘Can’t Decide’. He takes on a more melodic mode to express how having too much pride can ruin many things in life. Lil Baby does an exceptional job on his verse by showing us both the good and bad sides of being him while displaying his tremendous flow.
On ‘Let Go My Hand’ the slow laid back beat creates the perfect platform for J Cole to express his thoughts. Cole usually does his best work on instrumentals like this. He raps about not wanting his son to have some of the same insecurities he had. He mentions having to fight a lot growing up, and his last fight being with P Diddy of all people. The song closes with soothing lyrics from talented Dreamvile artist Bas and the supremely gifted 6LACK, along with a quick prayer from P Diddy himself.
After a few brilliant songs that had already been released. Cole wraps up the album with ‘Close’ and ‘Hunger On Hillside’ featuring Bas. ‘Close’ is a throwback to mixtape Cole days where he rapped over soulful beats and displayed his top-tier lyrical ability.
On the album outro ‘Hunger On Hillside’ Cole delivers motivational verses with a wonderful hook to match. He raps “ Shit gone get hard, keep your head strong, if I quit now, then I’m dead wrong. Fighting off this hunger for hours, big stepper, ni**a, don’t get stepped on. The money might fade, but respect don’t, still gone be me when success gone”. Words like this are a part of why Cole is where he is today in the rap game. Even when things got tough, he pushed through it and has been able to reach the very top.
Overall on ‘The Off Season’ J Cole fully delivers on expectations. The production is incredible and keeps you engaged throughout. He displays his outstanding lyrical ability, uses witty basketball references throughout, and incorporates melodic sounds into a few songs. The listening experience for ‘The Off Season’ is superb.
Amazingly enough, J Cole has shown that even though he’s ten plus years into the game. Somehow he’s still finding new ways to improve his craft. ‘The Off Season’ will go down in history as one of J Cole’s greatest albums. Check out ‘The Off Season’ below here at Pass The Aux.