By Christopher Paz
J. Cole gained a reputation for albums that do well with no features.
His latest album “The Off Season” was released on May 14 on Dreamville Records, Roc Nation and Interscope Records.
Unlike his previous projects, he collaborated with seven different artists this time around. The artists ranged from Bas and 6lack to Lil Baby and 21 Savage.
The album has a runtime of only 39 minutes and has 12 tracks.
The album begins with “ 95 s o u t h” and features Cam’ron and Lil Jon. In this song, Cole speaks on the shift of the digital age.
Currently, album sales are decided by the amount of streams an album receives.
Another way album sales are calculated is with merchandise bundles. If an artist includes a digital copy of their album with merchandise they also receive a number of album sales.
J. Cole has an obvious distaste for the way the industry has changed.
“Cole been goin’ plat since back when CDs was around.” “What you sold I tripled that/look how everyone claps when your 30-song album does a measly 100 thou.”
Here, he reminds the listener that he was around before the digital age and sold more than artists who release double albums do now and continues to go platinum even in the new era.
He also touches on the fact that artists now are releasing long albums and are barely crossing the hundred thousand sales mark– alluding to the fact that artists are choosing quantity over quality.
Throughout the album, J. Cole talks about his youth and growing up in North Carolina.
He talks about seeing some of his friends with potential to do great things eventually end up taking the wrong path, how they end up either in prison or dead. It’s always great when an artist allows you into their previous life before fame and doesn’t just flaunt the life they have now achieved.
He also tries to include lessons for up-and-coming artists in his albums.
In one song, he compares how his friends eat on their own while other rappers’ friends leech off of them.
He goes on to say that rappers should show their friends how to strive for their own and provide avenues for them to prosper not just receive handouts.
Cole is considered one of the greatest rap artists of the last 10 years.
This album only seems to solidify that case. He is an excellent storyteller and never seems to sell his fans short. From the delivery or rhyme schemes to the selection of beats, he puts an immense amount of time and effort into creating each song.
The album has been receiving great reviews and many Twitter users are calling it the album of the year.