Jalan Ward | Published May 27, 2021
FINALLY! After a few viral hints through social media outlets, and a special announcement from Fayetteville's own J. Cole. He released The Off-Season on May 14th, 2021, as fans waited patiently for the anticipated release. The great thing about J. Cole, and the way he markets his releases are unexpected which works for him. You can tell that even with him being signed to a major label, he does not rush his work when it's time. The fans do not mind waiting, as they know when J. Cole drops, he is going to take on an updated roller coaster ride into the life of Cole. So the question for most fans will be, did he deliver with The Off-Season?
I gave the album a few weeks to settle in, and with a few listens, I was ready for a proper review. I needed to digest The Off-season in many forms. I've might've listened 10x all the way through before I could really gather my thoughts to write up my review. Whether it was was riding randomly day & night to gather some unexpected vibes as I listened, it helped. I even have to work on branded content while listening, to really know if it's good, this is usually how I get inspired with albums. As a fan of J. Cole, I can say that The Off-season was a proper release, maybe not his best project as I'm stuck between Born Sinner & KOD. Nonetheless, this album is really really good!
Let's give a honest rate of 7.5/10. I'm very critical when it comes to a thorough project. The only reason of this specific rate, is determined by a full experience. I felt the flow of the album was a little shaky, it was definitely consistent but I was expecting a storyline of lyrics that would take me through the J. Cole experience fans crave. Music enthusiasts will know, and feel exactly where I am coming from with this. Not sure if this will fall in the line of a classic, but albums do grow on fans. Once again, the album is really good though. My favorite song from the project is (p u n c h i n' . t h e . c l o c k), as soon as the beat drops, you know you are in for the best of J. Cole. It's not a even a full 2 minute song, but J. Cole's cadence separated it from the rest of the album. I was hoping to get that feel throughout the entire album. Also 'p r i d e . i s . t h e . d e v i l' is a great song as well, when you listen to this song specifically, you can tell pride is what has held J. Cole back in many forms, we all can relate to that. Lil Baby also was featured on the track, and he floated as usual.
J. Cole stated that he will release 2 more albums before he's done with music. We hope he does not stop because he is one of maybe 5 artists who are keeping the real sense of Hip-Hop going. Right now, fans can wait for The Fall-Off, and continue to enjoy the past 6 studio albums plus the iconic mixtapes most know word for word.
Great job to J. Cole! We are proud of the growth, and that freestyle he gave on LA Leakers Radio.....was legendary! He ultimately delivered with The Off-Season! It's time for a tour. Tours always increase the love of an album! His growth lyrically was impressive, great work overall! - J. Ward