Rapper J. Cole has gone platinum, with no features once again, with his hit album KOD, breaking one million sales this year. This is his third album to do so beginning with 2014’s Forest Hills Drive, 2016’s 4 Your Eyez Only.
KOD, stood for three different subtitles: Kids On Drugs, King Overdose and Kill Our Demons. Thematically the album discussed drug addiction and its glorification in hip hop, at times parodying the new wave of “SoundCloud,” rap by blending Jazz instrumentals with hip hop beats. Cole’s own mother had struggled with drug addiction during his adolescence, a fact he discussed on “Once an Addict (Interlude).”
In an interview with Vibe Magazine, Cole explained:
“If I turn on the TV right now, it’s not going to be long before an advertisement pops up that says ‘are you feeling down? Have you been having lonely thoughts?’ And then they shove a pill in your face” the voice says of the Kids on Drugs title. The second meaning, King Overdose is representing me… the times that I was — and am — afflicted by the same methods of escape, whether it be alcohol, phone addiction, women… Lastly, Kill Our Demons represents breaking free of past trauma. That’s the end goal, to face our shit, realize we have some shit going on inside—everybody, I realized everybody family is fucked up because nobody is fucking perfect.”
He goes on to further explain that while the first two describe negative emotions. For Cole, the Kill Our Demons is helping recuperate from that drama.
“Whether you want to or not, you’re going to fuck up your kids in some type of way, because you got fucked up in some type of way.. the plan is to fuck your kids up the least amount possible. The first response to any problem is to medicate,” Cole elaborated. “Kill Our Demons is like, finding that shit, whether it be from traumatic childhood experiences, whether it be from a lack of attention, confidence issues, insecurities—whatever it is, we gotta be honest with ourselves. Look in the mirror or look inside and ask ourselves questions, like what’s causing me to run to this thing as an escape? And once I find the root of that, let me look it in its face an see what it really is.”
During this year, Cole met up with various rappers associated with this scene, including Lil Pump, who he held a one hour interview with. Pump had been calling out the rapper in numerous social media posts, accusing Cole of “sneak dissing,” him in a couple of tracks before this. This beef eventually calmed down, with Cole even shutting down a fuck Lil Pump chant at his concert.
The album was a massive success upon release as well, breaking first day Spotify and Apple stream records.This record of 64.5 million Apple Plays plays, and Spotify’s 36.6 million plays beat out Canadian rapper’s Drake’s albums Views and More Life.
KOD also kicked off a tour across the US, with Atlanta trap artist Young Thug serving as an opening act for the entire tour. Both artists held a concert at Anaheim’s Honda Center earlier this year.