Every music fan loves a good surprise.
That’s why the surprise announcement of J Cole’s upcoming KOD album sparked excitement amongst the Hip Hop world who missed his hard-hitting lyricism. This however, was to be the first of many surprises this week after the American superstar hosted a surprise listening party for fans in New York City and then London back to back this week.
The rapper mysteriously posted a tweet in the early afternoon, instructing fans to meet him at an East London location. Quick on the scene, Keakie managed to get to the location within ten minutes of the tweet and were greeted by a crowd of over 200 people, showing the sheer power of J.Cole’s influence. As news spread round and J Cole’s name trended worldwide, the queue got larger and larger, attracting a range of people from students to office workers. Once the patient and lucky fans received their wrist bands, they were told to meet for 7pm at Shoreditch’s Village Underground for a private album listening session with one strict rule, no phones nor bags allowed inside.
The venue itself was a nice, intimate space with a capacity of 750 people. By the time Cole came on stage the room was filled to the brim with fans hyped up after an incredible set by DJ Manny Norte of Capital Xtra.
Cole came out standing tall and proud with his dreadlocks causing the crowd to go wild as they saw the Dreamville man in the flesh before them. He talked for some time about the process of creating the album (which took him just 13 days, replacing 3 songs), the three distinct meanings of KOD (Kids on Drugs, King OverDosed and Kill Our Demons), the different emotions he was feeling at the time, and some deeper thoughts that he wanted to share with the London audience. Then he set the tone by controlling the lights until they were just right, asked the crowd if we're ready (of course we were) then proceeded to play his new album.
We won't go into explicit detail about the album because, well it's out in 3 days and we know just how much everybody hates spoilers. However, what is clear is that there are two halves to KOD. One half is filled with head-bopping-bangers; the type of music you could hear in a club or get hyped to with your friends. The other half has songs that contain some of the most poignant, socially relevant messages I’ve ever heard in my life. He doesn't disappoint in giving fans more of his epic storytelling, even bringing some to tears with his recollections. He manages to give out wisdom at many points throughout the album, with most of the songs revolving around a specific idea: materialism.
One of the most talked about songs will be the final one, 1985. The song that - in his own words - isn't the outro but leads onto 'something else entirely,' which we’re hoping will either be a mixtape or a back-to-back album. This song is an unapologetic statement, a message and (maybe most importantly) a warning to all the new up and coming rappers on the dangers of fame and what they could become, especially if they cross him.
The evening came to an end with a special thank you from J Cole to all the fans who came out and an awesome message of motivation. This left the lucky fans who heard the album wanting more, while stirring up anticipation for the rest of the world, waiting patiently to hear J Cole's 5th Studio album.
Update; KOD is out now, listen to the album on Spotify below: