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Things You Should Know About J. Cole's 'KOD' Album

From tracklists to features and underlying meanings, we've got the scoop on what you need to know. 

We're less than 24 hours away from J. Cole's forthcoming album KOD, a project that's presumed to be the takedown of the rap's current fascination and addiction to drug culture. Announced on Monday (April 16) along with a two pop-up listenings in London and New York, those in attendance have confirmed the artist is an entirely different Cole this time around.

Each of Cole's LPs have showcased a abstract vantage points with his previous platinum-with-no-features album 4 Your Eyez going the concept route. If time has shown us anything, it's that Cole's process is more unpredictable than we'd like to admit. So far, the rapper has only provided the world with a few tidbits. The album's cover and tracklisting was released Wednesday (April 18), with the album's designer sharing with us how KOD has "multiple meanings."

With some information disposed to us ('cause the internet), here are some things we know about the very wondrous project.

Editor's Note: 8-11 were added after the release of the album. 


 1. KOD Has Three Different Meanings

Cole's New York show might've been announced at the last minute, but DJ Booth's Ryan Payan attended the listening where the rapper shared how KOD equates to Kids on DrugsKing Overdosed and Kill our Demons. From the looks of the album artwork, the meanings make sense. There's also the fan theories that KOD could also be a subtle ode to his roots with the title, King of Dreamville. 

Cole helped solve some of the riddles with the release of his KOD album trailer on Thursday (April 19).

2. J.Cole Could Pull A Jay-Z and Annihilate The Druggy-Mumble Rap Culture In One Song

Digitally flipping over the album's artwork leads us to the tracklist with some very interesting tunes. There's "ATM," a possible double entendre that could mean the money machine or "At The Moment." Given the possible theme, it makes sense to point to the latter. Drug trips bring you blissful highs at the moment of inception, leaving you wanting more. There's also "Once an Addict (Interlude)," that can bring more jabs towards the fascinations around drugs. Jay-Z's "D.O.A. (Death of Autotune), did a number of the second wave of auto-tune in the 2000's, so there's no telling what Cole's words might do the current wave of drug raps lead by the likes of Lil Xan, Lil Yatchy and Trippie Redd.

3. kiLL edward Feature Might be Himself

Pointed out by Geniusedward might be a hint towards Cole's alias. "Tidal Wave (just a little reference)" was released just a day after his album announcement. With kiLL edward being the only "feature" on the album, it's likely he'll be competing with himself on the tracks.

4. The Album's Closer "1985" is an Introduction to Another LP

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A post shared by Punch (@iamstillpunch) on

Cole hasn't provided much information on this conspiracy theory tidbit, but TDE's co-president Punch made our head spin with his post above. With just the caption "4bidden," fans have speculated that this could mean the Kendrick Lamar + Cole collaborative project is nearly within our reach.

5. The Album Was Made In Two Weeks

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Cover. KOD 4/20

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Yes, it is true: J. Cole made this album in two weeks. He allegedly only went back in to perfect three songs. It's suggested this album could be a classic.

6. Smokepurp Claims He's On The Album/Cole Says There's No Features Other Than "kiLL edward"

Smokepurpp previously claimed that he has a verse on Cole's new album, and reiterated his statements in an Instagram post (April 16). Fans at the event say they did not hear any other guests on the project other than Cole. While it could be another case of trolling from Purpp, we won't know for sure until Friday. If you recall, Purpp and Lil Pump released a diss record called "F**k J. Cole," which they admitted later was a troll to get the rapper to react. Cole has yet to respond to the controversial track.

7. It's A Different Cole In Terms Of Flow (Says He Had A Message From God)

Fans may be in for a surprise with this album. According to DJ Booth's Ryan Payan, the album will feature a lot of vocal experimentation as well as a multitude of 808s.

8. Cole Might've Responded To Smokepurp & Lil Pump On "1985"

In what seemed to be a conversation between Cole and one of the "lil's" of today's rap scene, the rapper drops gems while calling out the lifestyle of one-hit-wonders and where it can lead them. In reality, it's a PSA to all of those who've doubted Cole's lyrical clap backs and a reminder to fellow contenders to come correct. Pump cared enough to share his thoughts on his Instagram story, calling Cole a "lame a**" for "dissing a 17-year-old."

9. The Flow On KOD Is Reminiscent To "Old Cole"

Early fan reactions called Cole's flow on KOD, different but it seems as if the rapper was returning to his roots. With the groove of Native Tongues, the rapper's beat selection was enjoyable and reminiscent to tracks via The Come Up and Friday Night Lights. 

10. Cole's Richard Pryor Sample is Deeper Than Rap..And Comedy

Cole is a student of the culture which extends beyond rap. With the late comedian's Live on The Sunset Strip opening "Brackets," the song finds meaning in the power of money and what it also does to the ego.

11. Children and Gun Violence Is Painfully American

Cole's addresses the youth and gun violence several times throughout KOD, including "Friends," and "Window Pain (Outro)." It's a similar theme heard on 4 Your Eyez Only as he spoke to a child Fayetteville about her turbulent life. It also speaks to America's ongoing about fact to the connection between poverty and violence, especially in lower income black/brown neighborhoods. With Cole never ignore the topic in his music, we're hoping it hits the right ear that will implement change.

READ: Meet Sixmau, The Artist Behind J. Cole’s Trip-Inspired Album Artwork

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Mac Miller performs during Behind The Scenes With Mac Miller Filming Music Choice's 'Take Back Your Music' Campaign at Music Choice on July 17, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Thundercat, Juicy J, Ariana Grande And More Pay Tribute To Mac Miller For 27th Birthday

It's not lost on many just how much Mac Miller's influence affects today's lovers of hip-hop. The rapper and songwriter's passing was a blow to the industry last year as he seemed to be hitting a special space in his creative journey.

With today (Jan. 19) being what would've been his 27th birthday, friends and musical partners are sharing stories and messages of love about their favorite Capricorn.

Frequent collaborator and friend Thundercat shared on Twitter a moment Mac helped create with the "Them Changes" artist and his family. "All three of us were in the same room, playing and creating and enjoying music with Mac," he tweeted about an impromptu session with his brothers and Mac.

"Mac was and always will be a special dude, he was definitely Lebowski to me. I will always remember a man I considered to be another one of my real brothers and best of friends in the short time we got to spend together. I miss him so much every day."

See more touching messages from Mac's friends below.

Mac was hands down one of thee freshest people I’ve met so far in life, never a dull moment. I’ll share one of my favorite moments with you guys on this most dope day. I always enjoyed getting a chance to work with him, we would spend days at a time...

— ashy daddy (@Thundercat) January 19, 2019

..Creating music, playing music and introducing each other to new music all the time. This is the day he met my brothers @drummaboiblue1 & @_K_I_N_T_A_R_O_ it was a bit of a whirlwind how it all happened because at separate times they both came flying...

— ashy daddy (@Thundercat) January 19, 2019

...through the studio door at separate times of the late night. My older brother @drummaboiblue1 kicked the door in and starts rapping and making hip hop hands at Mac who was sitting at the computer and it was so intense he just turned and looked at me like..

— ashy daddy (@Thundercat) January 19, 2019

...”Holy shit, this is your brother?” I didn’t know what to expect next because it could have easily gone south, but I got a chance to see what made Mac so special. My brother is hands down the most amazing drummer in the world *dont at me* and what I saw...

— ashy daddy (@Thundercat) January 19, 2019

...from Mac really stays in my heart because I watched him turn my older brothers energy into creative energy by challenging him about the title of best drummer in the world, and handing him pots & pans and things from around the studio and the house...

— ashy daddy (@Thundercat) January 19, 2019

..shortly after Mac turns to me & says “hey man your brother @_K_I_N_T_A_R_O_ is gonna come by, I immediately felt like there was a possibility that this would be overwhelming for Mac, as I have seen from past situations in life experience with people & us..

— ashy daddy (@Thundercat) January 19, 2019

...but none the less, all three of us were in the same room, playing and creating and enjoying music with Mac. For those that don’t see the significance, music and family can be a very intense experience in itself in life (if you know, you understand)....

— ashy daddy (@Thundercat) January 19, 2019

...it’s not always so easy and lighthearted like everyone would like to imagine it is however as it may be, the night went on,and the moment passed. Since that moment me and my brothers never really would be in that same setting and satire for years...

— ashy daddy (@Thundercat) January 19, 2019

...the reason that this story is so special is because while we were working on what’s the use, he started going through old music and came across that song, when he played it I began to tear up and I had to keep myself together because it was so special...

— ashy daddy (@Thundercat) January 19, 2019

...that he captured it! Almost like a photo. he turned to me and reminded me of how wild that night was and we had a good laugh about it and continued working. No one really owns any recordings of us like that, so it was really special to me...

— ashy daddy (@Thundercat) January 19, 2019

...Mac was and always will be a special dude, he was definitely Lebowski to me. I will always remember a man I considered to be another one of my real brothers and best of friends in the short time we got to spend together. I miss him so much every day...

— ashy daddy (@Thundercat) January 19, 2019

...he changed my life in a real way. Thank you @MacMiller Happy Birthday! pic.twitter.com/4HVdwj2fMs

— ashy daddy (@Thundercat) January 19, 2019

miss u.

— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) January 19, 2019

Happy birthday Mac Miller! pic.twitter.com/DT31Smpbqt

— Hi-Tek (@HiTek) January 19, 2019

Happy Birthday @MacMiller. Love You Always & Forever

— THE INTERNET (@intanetz) January 19, 2019

Smile today - Mac Miller ❤️ pic.twitter.com/l5rmQDu5XE

— Karen Civil (@KarenCivil) January 19, 2019


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damn i miss this so much! i miss jamming with you and writing with you and talking about anything and everything. just watching you produce was my favorite. i miss the way you used to support me in everything that i did. i miss your smile and your tight ass hugs. i love you. happy birthday to a legend.

A post shared by NJOMZA (@notnjomza) on Jan 19, 2019 at 10:07am PST

Happy birthday to one of the purest artists I’ve ever known, Mac Miller 🙏🏾 RIP https://t.co/e8IIGaRjhx

— Talib Kweli Greene (@TalibKweli) January 19, 2019

we miss you and love you Mac Miller happy birthday

— rex orange county (@rexorangecounty) January 19, 2019

Happy bday to my brother Mac Miller i miss my bro every day https://t.co/pXAn552l1w

— juicy j (@therealjuicyj) January 19, 2019

happy birthday Mac! 👼 tell your friends you love em twice as much.

— bear (@6LACK) January 19, 2019

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20 Hip-Hop And R&B Albums That Went Platinum With No Features

Once upon a time, successful artists considered receiving a gold or platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) as a rite of passage to legendary status, especially if they did it on their own. Up until 2016, elite hip-hop and R&B artists were awarded plaques after one million units in album sales were sold. Now, any artist with music that goes viral overnight can join the platinum club.

After the RIAA modernized its rules for obtaining gold & platinum status in 2016, the music industry has been flooded with gold and platinum recipients, and it will only become more saturated over time. However, any rapper or R&B singer who sells over a million units without the help of outside artists should be heralded like the icons who came before them.

Since the 1980s, plenty of hip-hop and R&B artists have gone platinum with memorable music that will live on forever, but only a select few have made history by reaching platinum status without featured artists. Here are 19 albums (and mixtapes) that went platinum without other musical guests on the compilation.

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Genres Aside, Here Are Our 25 Favorite Songs Of 2018

Keeping up with all of the music from 2018 was a full-time job, with loads of songs releasing every week and not enough ears to keep track. But the volume of music comes with an advantage: there’s something for everybody. Fittingly, our list of the 25 Best Songs of 2018 represents the multi-genre mayhem that is in everyone’s playlists this year.

Some of the entries on our list, like cuts by Drake, Travis Scott and Childish Gambino, were at the forefront of the conversation in 2018, dominating streaming services and radio around the country. Indie darling Saba made waves, and he’s included here as well. Jazz wizard Kamasi Washington dropped some of the best protest music of the year. But there are also some songs on this year’s list that spoke to the VIBE Tribe in a different way. Cardi B had hits all year, but an album cut impressed us most; Usher and Zaytoven’s new album didn’t make a huge splash commercially, but one of its songs appears here. And Beyonce appears on one of the best songs of the year that never even saw an official release–but that didn’t stop us from including it here.

Music broke the rules this year, and so did we. Read below, and tell us what surprise choices are making your songs of the year list.

READ MORE: Debate Us: The 30 Best Albums Of 2018

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