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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. 

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 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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4bidden.

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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8 Best Samples From Megan Thee Stallion, Tyler The Creator And DJ Khaled's Projects

Megan Thee Stallion, DJ Khaled and Tyler, The Creator have more in common than just a release date. The artists also know a thing or two about thoughtful sampling.

Their projects, which all happen to be some of their best efforts, find inspiration from 70s soul and deep 90s underground jams. Jackson 5, Jay-Z and Sizzla were sampled on DJ Khaled's previous release Grateful, but with Father of Asahd, the producer and proud dad jumps back into the crates. This time around, modern hits are used like Ms. Lauryn Hill's "To Zion" and Outkast's "Ms. Jackson."

Megan Thee Stallion's samples also prove her rhymes aren't the only thing fans should pay close attention to.

Check out some of our favorite samples from this week's releases below.

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Megan Thee Stallion- Fever 

1. "Hood Rat S**t"

Sample: Latarian Milton's Viral Video (2013)

Plucked from the wonderful world of viral videos, Megan uses the then 7-year-old's mischevious joy ride to accurately describe how she rolls with her crew.

2. "Pimpin"

Sample: DJ Zirk & Tha 2 Thick Family featuring 8Ball & MJG and Kilo-g  "Azz Out" (1996) 

There's something to be said about Megan's very clever samples. The chorus to the late 90s underground gem stems from southern legends like Tennesee's 8Ball and MJG along with NOLA's own Kilo-g. Megan grabs a few bars from the track and puts her own twist on them for the chorus: "Stick 'em up, stick 'em up, raise 'em up, raise 'em up Drop it off in his fucking face just to saw it off/Gotta get my a** ate, gotta make that a** shake/Gotta swipe this ni**a card so much they had to call the bank"

3. "Simon Says" featuring Juicy J 

Samples: Billy Paul, "Me And Mrs. Jones" (1972), "Looking For Tha Chewin,'" DJ Paul (Ft. 8Ball, DJ Zirk, Kilo-G, Kingpin Skinny Pimp & MJG) (1992)

Another variation of the aforementioned track is also heard on her collaboration with southern legend Juicy J. The soft intro by way of Bill Paul's "Me and Mrs. Jones" also offers a soulful touch to the track.

DJ Khaled- Father of Asahd

4. "Holy Mountian" featuring Buju Banton, Sizzla, Mavado and 070 Shake) 

Sample: "One Spliff a Day," Billy Boyo (1981) 

Boyo's legendary riddim has been used by a bevy of artists including SiR and Wiz Khalifa but Khaled's curation of the track with some of the biggest names in reggae takes it to another level. It also doesn't hurt that his longtime friend and icon Banton opens the album.

5. "Just Us" featuring SZA 

Sample: "Ms. Jackson," Outkast (2001) 

This sample definitely raises the eyebrows, but the careful loop paired with SZA's sing-rap flow makes it worth a listen.

6. "Holy Ground" featuring Buju Banton 

Samples: "To Zion," Ms. Lauryn Hill and Carlos Santana (1999) 

Grand opening, grand closing. Banton closes out the album with soul-baring lyrics and a thoughtful sample to match. Carlos Santana's chords from the original track give the song a sentimental feel along with Banton's lyrics about mass incarceration, cultural warfare and spiritual freedom.

Tyler, The Creator- IGOR

7. "A BOY IS A GUN" 

Samples: "Bound," Ponderosa Twins Plus One (1971) 

Tyler might have gotten inspiration to sample this song from Kanye West (Bound 2), but his take is smooth and subtle as he navigates through love and heartbreak.

8. "ARE WE STILL FRIENDS" featuring Pharell Williams 

Samples: "Dream," Al Green (1977) 

Underneath IGOR's tough exterior lies a gentle soul. The placement of Al Green's "Dream," on the latter end of the album takes the listener on a starry love high. Pharrell and Tyler allow the sample to act as a skeleton for the song as they point out how to keep love alive.

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Issa Vibe: The Best Songs To Fit Your Different 4/20 Sessions

April 20th isn’t a national holiday, but it might as well be.

Although recreational marijuana use is only legal in 10 states, the U.S. is home to approximately 35 million regular users of cannabis, according to a survey done by Yahoo News and Marist University. That's 10.6 percent of the American population and while that may seem minuscule, the numbers are growing daily and it's understandable.

Weed has now become a staple of American culture; it's become a legitimate business in the states where it's legal, it's now part of the way people socialize, and better yet it's a theme in some of the hottest music out today. "Kush" has been included in some of the hardest verses that millennials and generation-z kids have heard in their lifetime.

Wiz Khalifa and Snoop Dogg, amazing emcees in their own right, are also widely known for their love of the green plant. Wiz's biggest album, Rolling Papers is clearly influenced by weed and along with the Snoop Dogg-assisted "Young, Wild & Free" is all about that green positivity.

There's an endless list of hits about rolling up a joint, hitting it and passing it, but what about moods? Whether it's a bowl, a blunt or an edible weed, can leave people feeling a variety of ways and that all can be traced to a certain strand of weed someone's inhaling, or the mood they're already.

Regardless, it's important to be prepared and have music ready to match whatever feelings marijuana concocts; and that's why VIBE compiled an adequate list of songs for each of the main pot moods.

So on this 4/20, sit back, relax, smoke and find the songs that suit the vibe.

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The "Let Me Chill Out" Mood 

Sometimes the best way to come down from an over the top high is to play some tunes with a soft beat and a light voice. The best artists in the game right now, like Jhené Aiko for instance, have created that sound that's perfect for when relaxation is needed, so of course, she made the list.  These are the top four songs that can help anyone kick back and relax if a pull from a joint just isn't hitting the right way.

"Blue Dream" by Jhené Aiko "Muse" by Afro Nostalgia "Summer Games" by Drake "LOVE." by Kendrick Lamar (feat. Zacari) The Bad B*tch Hours or "Top Two and I'm Not Two" Mood 

You look around the room and realize: you're top two and you're not two in it. All it took was one or a couple of puffs and then a pass to make you feel pretty good about yourself. One of the main upsides to smoking that's constantly mentioned in the media is that it can help alleviate chronic pain, well, another positive to it is that it can leave you feeling sexy, sensual and everything in between.

This is that high that can make you feel that you're significant other is lucky to have you, and subsequently makes you hit them up, that tells you: you're single and ready to mingle. It's a smoking session that lets you know: if you shoot your shot now, you'll score and it's a session that you want music playing that only affirms how sultry and seductive you feel. If this is how 4/20 leaves you feeling, putting on some RiRi or even Young Thug can effectively get you 'in your bag.'

"Same Ol' Mistakes" by Rihanna "Tyrant" by Kali Uchis (feat. Jorja Smith) "Worth It" by Young Thug "Smoke Break" by Chance the Rapper (feat. Future) The "Head in the Clouds" Mood 

More often than not, edibles have the power of leaving people spaced out and speaking slowly, after consuming them. Sometimes smoking weed, or hotboxing with friends is a silent event. Either everyone's consumed by their phones, or every other person has been looking at a nonexistent spot on the wall for the past 15 minutes.

Regardless this isn't the high where people want to hear "Act Up" by City Girls, no matter how much they love them. No, this is the high where people need music that takes them on a journey. Songs where the production is out of this world and it seems like the artist specifically made the song for a smoke session like no other. Travis Scott's ASTROWORLD is full of tracks with that vibe, and Lil' Wayne, a weed connoisseur of his own, has songs that fulfill that need too. Smoke a bit and let the weed do its thing.

"ASTROTHUNDER" by Travis Scott "I Feel Like Dying" by Lil' Wayne "Hyyer" by Kid Cudi "St. Tropez" by J. Cole The "Got the Giggles" Mood 

This is when the blunt hits perfectly and there's nothing wrong in the world or when the bowl did its' job and leaves everyone feeling silly. A "feel good high" is the best way to describe and the best way to live through that kind of smoke session is to listen to some "feel good music." These are the songs that can have people swaying unknowingly to its' beat, or the tracks that leave people smiling from ear to ear. This is the session that lets people know that "this is it chief," and here are the best songs to go along with it.

"Pass the Vibes" by Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment "Dreamcatcher" by Metro Boomin' (feat. Swae Lee & Travis Scott) "It's a Vibe" by 2 Chainz (feat. Ty Dolla $ign, Trey Songz & Jhené Aiko) "Binz" by Solange
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Kush & Splendor: 5 CBD Beauty Products That’ll Take Your Self-Care Routine From 0 To 100

Lotions, creams, and salves—oh my! With cannabidiol (CBD) popping up in just about every product you can imagine, the cannabis-infused beauty industry is clearly on the come-up. In fact, analysts predict that the “wellness” movement—as well as the legalization of Mary Jane across the world—will help rake in $25 billion globally in the next 10 years, according to Business Insider. That’s 15 percent of the $167 billion skincare market.

And what better way to up the ante on one’s wellness routine than with all-natural CBD? Just ask Dr. Lana Butner, naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist at NYC’s Modrn Sanctuary, who incorporates CBD in her treatments.

“CBD is a fantastic addition to acupuncture sessions for both its relaxation and anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving effects,” Butner shares with Vixen. “The calming effects of CBD allows for patients to deeply relax into the treatment and really tap into the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for rest, digestion and muscle repair/regeneration.”

She adds that CBD’s pain-relieving effects are “far-reaching,” from muscular and joint pains to migraines and arthritis—and even IBS and indigestion.

The magic lies in CBD’s ability to impact endocannabinoid receptor activity in our bodies. Without getting too wordy, our bodies come equipped with a system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is the HBIC over our sleep, appetite, pain and immune system response. Also known as cannabidiol, CBD teams up with this system to help reduce inflammation and interact with neurotransmitters. According to Healthline, CBD has also been scientifically shown to impact the brain’s receptors for serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for regulating our mood and social behavior.

All that said, it’s important to note that not all CBD products are created equal. Many brands cashing in on the green beauty wave use hemp seed oil, sometimes referred to as cannabis sativa seed oil, in place of CBD... which doesn’t make them any less great! Hemp seed oil is actually high in antioxidants, amino acids, and omega-3 and -6 fatty acids—all of which are thebomb.com for your skin.

“It’s generally viewed as a superfood and is great for adding nutritional value to your diet,” Ashley Lewis, co-founder of Fleur Marché, told Well and Good last month. “In terms of skin care, it’s known as a powerful moisturizer and skin softener that doesn’t clog pores or contribute to oily skin.”

However, when companies start marketing CBD and hemp oil as one-in-the-same, that’s when things get a bit tricky.

“The biggest issue is that hemp seed oil and CBD are two totally different compounds that come from different parts of the hemp plant, have different makeups, and different benefits,” Lewis added. “Marketing them as the same thing just isn’t accurate and does a disservice to consumers who are expecting certain benefits that they won’t get from hemp seed oil and who are often paying more for what they think is CBD.”

So if you’re looking to benefit from the perks specifically attributed to CBD, make sure you’re reading labels before buying, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Hell, ask for a product’s test results, while you’re at it. It never hurts to be sure.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, are you ready to see what all the hype is about? For this 4/20, we rounded up a few CBD (and hemp!)-infused products to help give your self-care routine a bit of a boost. Looks like your holiday just got that much kushier. You’re welcome!

Note: Data and regulations surrounding CBD and its use are still in development. That said, please don’t take anything written in this post as medical or legal advice, and definitely double check the laws in your state. Also, please do your body a favor and hit up your doctor before trying any new supplements. We’re just tryna look out for you. Okay? Okay. Read on.

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