J Cole delighted fans with the April 20th release of his much anticipated album, KOD. According to Pitchfork, the LP has broken not one but two records: Apple Music’s record for most first-day album streams with 64.5 million plays, and Spotify’s record for most first-day U.S. album streams, with 36.6 million plays. The Apple Music record as well as the Spotify record was previously held by hip-hop giant Drake for View and More Life.
Cole’s record is made even more unique by his decision to continuously compose and produce his work without the built-in promotional machine that features and collaborations provide. The pack mentality held by most modern hip hop artists has helped fuel industry growth and sales but Cole has chosen to build his artistic vision solo. Cole’s third studio album, 2014 Forest Hills Drive, debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboards 200 and sold 371,000 copies in its first week despite his lone wolf attitude. The catchphrase “J Cole Went Platinum with no Features” spread wildly as people stood amazed by the music anomaly. Cole has also been the subject of critical success and won the BET Hip Hop Award for Album of the year in 2015 and a Grammy award nomination for best rap album in 2016 for 2014 Forest Hills Drive.