Sharif McCurdy ’23
The Off-Season by J. Cole is a reminder that since 2018’s KOD, J. Cole has been diligent in producing records ample in introspection and impressive lyricism. Since 2018, fans have speculated on the release of a new album due to references in past songs and cover art. And thankfully, the three-year wait and plethora of foreshadowing did not disappoint. The album has a familiar deep and well-thought-out lyricism over more trap-style beats. This is done while keeping his iconic smooth, melodic flow juxtaposed against moments of intense and complex rhyme schemes.
The style of The Off-Season differs from J. Cole’s last project. KOD was a story-based album. Its songs were intricately weaved together, each one complimenting another well. The Off-Season is more like a mixtape, a melting pot of emotions and concepts which Cole has been honing and perfecting over the years away from the media—in his off-season. Regardless, he attacks the tracks with the same ferocity of his earlier works but in a more refined and precise fashion. It is evident that J. Cole has improved with age.
The Off-Season has a 97% approval rating on Google. Furthermore, over six million on-demand streams of the album were recorded within 10 days of its release. According to Billboard, The Off-Season topped charts across all platforms. The success of the album is undeniable. All 12 songs are impressive examples of the multitude of skills J. Cole has. There is less deep lyricism than some fans wanted and not enough ‘mainstream trap vibes’ for others, but the album remains fantastic. J. Cole also features an amazing onset of artists such as Bas, Murray, Lil Baby, 21 Savage, and 6lack. J. Cole is a master of taking you on an impactful musical journey. Undeniably, The Off-Season is an excellent tribute to this craft.
Photo Credit: Felton Brown