J. Cole released his highly anticipated fifth album KOD Friday morning (April 20) and the 12-track project already has his fans buzzin. The album had Cole take more of a minimalist approach to the production, while his friendlier-conscious lyrics took center stage. Cole also once again followed his no features format, outside of his alter-ego, kiLL Edward.
But one particular track that has been an early standout is the album’s outro “1985.” The song’s title represents the year of Cole’s birth and his longevity to being on earth. No longer seen as a young rapper at the age of 33, Cole took this opportunity on the track to subliminally diss the new wave of “mumble rappers.” He also gave friendly advice while letting a new-generation rapper know he’s Cole’s son, presumably Lil’ Pump.
What makes this track so great, is how Cole doesn’t take on the old-head, holier-than-thou perspective. Instead, he uses reason to open the track, relating to them that he too, had the thinking process of the current generation at their age.
“1985, I arrived
33 years, damn, I’m grateful I survived
We wasn’t s’posed to get past 25
Jokes on you motherfucker, we alive
All these niggas popping now is young
Everybody say the music that they make is dumb
I remember I was 18
Money, pussy, parties, I was on the same thing
You gotta give a boy a chance to grow some
Everybody talkin’ like they know somethin’ these days”
Next, he offers advice to the anonymous rapper.
“I heard one of em’ diss me, I’m surprised
I ain’t trippin’, listen good to my reply
Come here lil’ man, let me talk with ya’
See if I can paint for you the larger picture
Congrats ’cause you made it out your mama’s house
I hope you make enough to buy your mom a house
I see your watch icy and your whip foreign
I got some good advice, never quit tourin’
‘Cause that’s the way we eat here in this rap game
I’m fuckin’ with your funky lil’ rap name
I hear your music and I know that rap’s changed
A bunch of folks would say that that’s a bad thing
‘Cause everything’s commercial and it’s pop now.”
The next few lines are signature Cole, in which he rhetorically asks the new generation of rappers if they have thought about their true impact. Cole states that while white fans listen to their music to be cool, they will never experience what it’s like to be black. It also could be a shot at non-black rappers such as Post Malone and Lil Xan, who use black culture to sell records.
“I must say, by your songs I’m unimpressed, hey
But I love to see a Black man get paid
And plus, you havin’ fun and I respect that
But have you ever thought about your impact?
These white kids love that you don’t give a fuck
‘Cause that’s exactly what’s expected when your skin black
They wanna see you dab, they wanna see you pop a pill
They wanna see you tatted from your face to your heels
And somewhere deep down, fuck it, I gotta keep it real
They wanna be black and think your song is how it feels
So when you turn up, you see them turnin’ up too.”
Lastly, Cole points out the one thing that the newer generation of rappers lack: experience. From a seasoned rapper to the experienced music head, both sides have seen the changes over the years with music. The mid 2000’s brought us snap/ringtone music, while the late 2000’s gave us autotune. Building off auto tune, trap music took shape in the early 2010’s until 2012, where trap music’s offshoot, drill music was the wave. Drill music birthed mumble rap, which turned into the present day offshoot drug rap. But in each era mentioned, numerous rappers came in riding the wave of what was currently hot. Dem Franchize Boyz was popular during snap music, while Chief Keef helped birth drill music. Neither are relevant as they once were, as the music they made only was made for the times they were in. Cole sends a warning to the new age rappers, giving them a glimpse of an undesirable pitfall.
“I know you think this type of revenue is never endin’
But I wanna take a minute just to tell you that ain’t true
One day, them kids that’s listening gon’ grow up
And get too old for that shit that made you blow up
Now your show’s lookin’ light cause they don’t show up
Which unfortunately means the money slow up
Now you scramblin’ and hopin’ to get hot again
But you forgot you only popped ’cause you was ridin’ trends
Now you old news and you goin’ through regrets
‘Cause you never bought that house, but you got a Benz.”
J. Cole could have been way more ruthless, but he decided relating to them was the best alternative. To check out the entire album, you can buy it now on iTunes.