A brief discussion of raps “Middle Child”, J. Cole.
This past NBA all-star weekend in Charlotte, NC was full of celebrity presence and NBA stardom of the past, present, and future. With the annual dunk contest high on the list of things to do, a Fayetteville native, Jermaine Cole, made a rare appearance assisting fellow Fayetteville native Dennis Smith Jr. Cole contributed to one of the nights biggest dunks and memorable moments. Cole kept the crowd on the edge of their seats with a failed feature dunk attempt, providing a perfectly ironic followup to a successful year of rap features. With his hometown state of North Carolina on center stage, the MC delivered an impeccable halftime show (take notes NFL), reclaiming his rightful seat on the throne.
Once upon a time, “J. Cole went platinum with no features.” After the success of 2014’s Forest Hills Drive, GOAT talk and legendary-status were fittingly his. Making his next move possibly his best, fans anxiously awaited while the MC took a different route dodging the public, stardom, and GOAT conversations. Finally in 2016, Cole delivered the quiet, yet classic followup 4YEO, eventually falling on deaf ears amongst the hip hop hype community. Very little promotion behind the album besides a few misleading freestyles (False Prophets and Everybody Dies), an explanatory NY Times interview and a revering HBO special. Cole soon became the talk of fans, journalists, and podcasters alike, questioning his reused “no feature” and solely-produced-by-Cole formula; dubbing it ineffective. Even after commercial success, his credibility as “the best” took a turn for the worst.
With premature assumptions of him no longer being top 5 on the minds of many, Cole vengefully resurfaced taking 2018 by storm. Showing off on huge records alongside Jeezy, Wale, 6lack, MoneyBagg Yo, 21 Savage and more. His relentless year of lyrical warfare quieted critics forcing his reposition at the top. Releasing yet another featureless album, KOD showcased the NC rapper over typical trap records backed by non-conforming messages, once again shifting debate and barbershop conversations. Cole’s revamped competitive nature (see Album of The Year Freestyle) shined bright drowning out naysayers of his previous non-experimental formula.
High off an incredible 2018. J. Cole once again establishes himself as the best rapper in 2019 backed by fire major movie soundtracks, executive producer credits, and the multi-release and push of Dreamvillian artists. Proving no challenge unaccepted, his recently released T-minus single “Middle Child” provides a catchy bounce backed by autotune infused game and ferocious liners. Landing Cole his highest charting song at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. Riding the hype of Hip Hop’s biggest and smallest acts receiving golden tickets to Dreamville: Revenge of The Dreamers 3 sessions. It’s not hard to tell that J. Cole’s career seeking goal of top MC will undoubtedly be checked off in the near future.