Jesus, this album. I could spend my time boring on about the sheer quality of the music here, of how it’s an album that deftly combines smooth hip-hop braggadocio with conscientious and thoughtful polemics, all backed with some of the slickest production of 2018. That’s not really my bag though, is it? Instead, the talking points and thought exercises thrown up by Jermaine Lamarr Cole’s fifth album KOD* are so numerous that I can only really take them on in bullet proof form. More after the jump! Click click click click! You’re all just cattle to me! Don’t forget to hit subscribe! Love you!
(*standing for ‘Kids On Drugs’. Or maybe ‘King OverDosed’. Also ‘Kill Our Demons’. And potentially ‘Karate’s Over, Dingus’. Or ‘Kelly Osbourne’s Demise’. Maybe even ‘Kayaking Over Detroit’. ‘Kissing Older Dentists’? J Cole can’t seem to decide what it stands for himself, so that seems to suggest it can stand for whatever the fuck you want)
- “Count it up, count it up, count it up, count it/Can’t take it when you die, but you can’t live without it”. The idea of what we can’t take with us should become a central belief of people who consider themselves left of centre. We have grown to believe that being ‘left wing’ consists only of not being racist, and maybe having a female friend or two that you haven’t sexually assaulted yet. No. Racism and sexism isn’t left or right wing. It’s just wrong. On a very basic level, being right wing means you believe more in the individual’s rights ahead of the state, and therefore you don’t believe in high taxation to merely benefit those smelly oafs who work on your plantation. Locus of control! I wrote about that shit, remember? To be left wing is to believe in the power of strong communities and humans benefiting each other through mutual support. It is, therefore, the belief of self sacrifice rather than selfish greed. Increasing tax should be one of your core beliefs. You should be trying to increase inheritance tax to spread the wealth more and attempt to create more fluidity between classes and less of an income gap, either by lowering its threshold beneath £325’000, or by raising the rate higher than a paltry 40%.
- “I pay taxes, so much taxes, shit don’t make sense/Where do my dollars go? You see lately, I ain’t been convinced/I guess they say my dollars supposed to build roads and schools/But my niggas barely graduate, they ain’t got the tools/Maybe ’cause the tax dollars that I make sure I send/Get spent hirin’ some teachers that don’t look like them/And the curriculum be tricking them, them dollars I spend/Got us learning about the heroes with the whitest of skin”. Bollocks. Cole brings up some points I’d never previously considered. I always thought that people complaining about taxes is the the crudest form of greed, but I’d never actually considered it from a minority perspectivedem. To J.Cole, paying taxes is just further strengthening the white ruling class that has been so damaging to people like him in the past, present, and probably future. He has seen neighbourhoods that receive next to no government assistance, despite how much task he pays. Of course, what little tax I pay goes to the fucking Conservative Party, who have historically been damaging to all human beings. Perhaps what we need is more control over where our tax goes…?
- “Thank God mama couldn’t afford the abortion”. I mean… yeah, I guess…
- “Some older nigga told me to start votin’/I said “Democracy is too fuckin’ slow”/If I’m givin’ y’all this hard-earned bread, I wanna know/Better yet, let me decide, bitch, it’s 2018/Let me pick the things I’m funding from an app on my screen/Better that than letting wack congressman I’ve never seen/Dictate where my money go, straight into the palms of some/Money-hungry company that make guns that circulate the country”. OK, that seems like a good idea. Like, I know it won’t be, but I can’t say for what reason. Can someone explain why that isn’t a good idea?
- “My life is too crazy, no actor could play me/My life is too crazy, no actor could play me!” Really, Jermaine? No actor? What about Olivia Colman? Give her a try, I’ll guarantee you’ll be impressed by her range
- “Sometimes I think pain is just a lack of understanding/If we could only understand it all, would we feel no pain?” I actually think there’s a little more to this than some stoner’s sermon on the coach. Physical pain is just a thing, and it’s a thing that’s always going to happen. If you understand completely the inner workings of your tympanic cavities and otolith organs, it’s still going to hurt like fuck if I slice your ear off with a kitchen knife. Once again, I’m really sorry about that Paula, but I trust you understand the point I was trying to make at your wedding. Emotional pain though?? Isn’t that all from a lack of understanding? Maybe if you understood how tiny your penis was, and understood how little satisfaction you were able to give Julie all those years, and if you understood how big the Amazon’s delivery driver’s willy is in comparison, maybe her leaving you wouldn’t hurt so much? Or maybe if you understood how a childhood incident with a caterpillar, coupled with her vivid memory of her father driving away for the last time, would make Julie especially partial to delivery drivers who look like they’re in the larval stage, it would all make sense and you’d feel no pain. Perhaps, but I also think full understanding would actually lead to all emotions being disregarded, as emotions are a completely irrational way of living, based not on thought processes but on deeply held pulls that we’re not able to recognise. If we understood everything, we wouldn’t feel bad when Julie left, but we wouldn’t feel especially good when she was there. Because, seriously, Julie?? Nothing about that woman makes logical sense
- “I wrote this shit to talk about the word addiction/To my niggas – I hope you listening/[scrambled] and [scrambled], I hope you listening”. Well, you scrambled their names, Jeremiah, how are they going to know you’re talking to them? Aye? Aye?? Didn’t think this through, did you?
- “Love today’s gone digital/And it’s messing with my health” Yeah, I’ve done Tinder. I’m finished talking about it. For now.
- “I understand this message is not the coolest to say/But if you down to try it I know of a better way/Meditate/Meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate/Don’t medicate, medicate, don’t medicate, medicate” I actually started yoga and meditating this year. Yeah, I know, it really isn’t the coolest thing to say, but I would actually recommend it as a nice way to clear your mind and iron out a few brain sinews. Better than drugs though? Mmmmmmm. There’s no reason you can’t meditate and medicate.
- “I be tryna give ’em game like Santa did when Christmas came” Pfff, tell me about it, Cole! I’ve been trying to pass out game to my readers via this blog for years now, and you know how much thanks I get? Only 300 readers offered me oral sex last year. That’s less than one a day! I’m just not sure these numbers are sustainable.
- “‘Cause everything’s commercial and it’s pop now/Trap drums is the shit that’s hot now/See, I’ve been on a quest for the next wave/But never mind, that was just a segue/I must say, by your songs I’m unimpressed, hey/But I love to see a Black man get paid/And plus, you havin’ fun and I respect that/But have you ever thought about your impact?/These white kids love that you don’t give a fuck/’Cause that’s exactly what’s expected when your skin black/They wanna see you dab, they wanna see you pop a pill/They wanna see you tatted from your face to your heels/And somewhere deep down, fuck it, I gotta keep it real/They wanna be black and think your song is how it feels”. Fuck. Cole rather succinctly makes me feel guilty for ever praising Lil Yachty.
- Kevin’s Hart. It’s strange to pick such a downbeat and uneventful song as the album’s lead single, downright bizarre to just do a play on Kevin Hart’s name in the hope he’d star in the video.
- J. Cole is seemingly rather comfortable using the word ‘bitch’. This might be my Social Justice Cluck Snowflake showing, but I’m not sure of the permissability of using that word in 2018. I know there have been other albums on this last that have used it that I haven’t made a fuss over, I just think it’s interesting how a man who obviously puts so much thought and consideration into the music he makes still believes the usage of the word is appropriate.
- “Why can’t the world just be all nice things?/Because God is tryna, um/Warn-warn us or teach us a lesson that we need to learn/Or He’s tryna warn us of He’s comin’ back to, um, see us and take us home and redo the world/He’s comin’ back to, um, have us be His children and for us to see Him for the first time so we can rejoice with Him and have our time/And after we do that, He’s gonna restart the world” I’m sorry, but the child quoted here sounds absolutely psychotic. I could quite easily write 1500 words right there.
- “Fuck did you expect, you can blame it on condition/Blame it on crack, you can blame it on the system/Blame it on the fact that 12 got jurisdiction/To ride around in neighbourhoods that they ain’t ever lived in/Blame it on the strain that you feel when daddy missing/Blame it on Trump shit, blame it on Clinton/Blame it on trap music and the politicians/Or the fact that every black boy wanna be Pippen/But they only got twelve slots on the Pistons/Blame it on the rain, Milli Vanilli with the disk skip/What I’m tryna say is the blame can go deep as seas/Just to blame ’em all I would need like twenty CD’s” Fuck, this is an incredible album, and I’ve barely scratched the surface
A perfect length for a near perfect album