Hot Take: J.Cole 2020

Suraj Reddy
Feb 11 · 2 min read

“I’m right in the middle of two generations I’m little bro and big bro all at once” — The Middle Child, J.Cole

Midway through my run, my Spotify account cycled through my curated rap playlist and landed on J.Cole’s new song “The Middle Child.” I first started listening to J.Cole’s music when he released his debut album “Coles World: The Side Line Story.” Back then, I deemed him as a gifted artist who had the ability to pair simple beats with catchy lyricism but to create an album that would be worth listening to for a couple more times and then soon forgotten. It was good but wasn’t special.

My impression of him, however, changed after the release of his next album “Born Sinner.” The song “Let Nas Down” was a particularly powerful piece where J.Cole expresses his disappointment in deciding to sacrifice his artistic integrity for a hit. After that this deeply introspective album J.Cole’s music evolved from solely hit-focused sounds into powerful art that combined his views about politics, economics, religion, gender, and race. Thinking about it now it is incredible to see an artist who is able to weave so many complex subjects into his albums and his overall identity. He is an influencer that uses the impact of rhythm and poetry to release positivity into the world. And now, with the release of his new song, it is clear that he is taking steps to become a mentor to the younger generation as well.

Politics is something that has been especially prominent in America today. The word politician comes with a dirty feeling to it. Many, like me, are hoping for a new era of leaders who aren’t afraid to take a stand, shake up the system, learn from the past, and have a humbling aura to them. J.Cole for me represents all of those things and more.