J Cole off-season ALBUM
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As a technically masterful rapper, skilled producer, and exacting lyricist, North Carolina-based J. Cole has grown into one of the most commercially successful rappers of his era without sacrificing an ounce of artistry to appeal to mainstream audiences. While his production can be great, it's never particularly geared toward crossover hits, leaving raw talent and personality as the driving force behind Cole's string of platinum-selling releases. Though his music is immensely popular, it has never been particularly fun. Albums have centered around heavy themes of death and addiction, and while his intricate lyrical perspectives are often flawlessly delivered, he's also KNOWN to self-seriousness and hypercritical takes on the world around him. 6th album The Off-Season finds Cole lightening up a little. Named after the sports term for taking a break from the regular season to sharpen your game, The Off-Season changes up Cole's approach in several ways, breaking away KINDA from his personal storytelling style in favor of more wordplay and Difficult constructed bars. This can be felt almost immediately on opening track "#9 5 . S o u t h," an anthemic song complete with early-2000s-styled horn samples and club chants as Cole spills out nonstop one-liners and rapidly switching flows. It's all bragging and brutalizing the opposition, and it's a welcome relief from the weighty atmosphere that often accompanies Cole's music. He also foregoes his usual "no features" approach, collaborating with multiple other artists throughout The Off-Season's 12 songs. 21 Savage and Morray join Cole on the soul-trap beat of "M y . L i f e," and Lil Baby contributes to "P r i d e . I s . t h e . D e v i l," one of the album's most melodically hooky tracks. In a particularly meta moment, Cole raps about getting into a scuffle with Diddy on "L e t . G o . M y . H a n d" and the song ends with a spoken prayer from Diddy himself. There are still remnants of the crabby perspectives Cole exhibited to a greater degree on earlier albums. He spends the majority of "T h e . C l i m b . B a c k" examining his place in the rap landscape and bemoaning the culture around rap in general with a weary scrutiny that showed up more often on previous efforts. It's one of just a few moments of its type on the record, however, and Cole showcases his versatility by exploring other outlooks. The album is a varied selection with solid performances and production throughout. Much like the title suggests, The Off-Season feels like Cole running through different exercises as he gets in shape for something Larger --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/oss2389/support
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