The North Carolina based rapper has released two new singles from his upcoming album The Fall Off, which has yet to receive an official release date.
Cole made his solo return last month when he released “Snow on Tha Bluff,” a powerful song that addressed problems of systemic racism and ignorance in America. The song, which many speculated to be about female rapper Noname and her harsh criticisms of American society on Twitter, sparked controversy among hip hop fans, and even prompted Noname to release her own response, “Song 33.” Noname would eventually apologize for causing a public distraction and making issues of social justice about her, while Cole publicly praised Noname’s intelligence and fearlessness in voicing her thoughts on issues of social justice.
A month later, Cole continues to make his solo return since he dropped his most recent solo album, KOD, in 2018. His first single, “The Climb Back,” is all about cyclical patterns that occur both within music and life. The laid back, soulful production allows Cole’s bars to shine through, as he explains on the chorus, “Everything come back around full circle / Why do lies sound pleasant but the truth hurtful?” Cole talks about leaving some of his old friends behind, as they care more about their material wealth than they do about leaving behind a positive impact. “My nigga repeated this quote to me, I felt its potency / Said, ‘Most of these niggas gon’ hang themselves, just give ’em the rope and see,'” Cole explains. “Shit, I heeded that, and what got showed to me / Was screamin’ that, some niggas you gotta leave ’em back.”
On the second single, “Lion King On Ice,” Cole takes a more dynamic approach, as the production is slightly more aggressive and upbeat through the use of heavier 808s and bouncier high hats. Cole raps about the struggles and tribulations of making it in the rap game, and mentions that “Deep down inside, though, I still feel as broke / As that nigga who just graduated from college.” Despite the fact that Cole has had to scrap and at times get dirty to be in the position he is in today, he closes the song on a positive note, as he raps “At night, I hit my knees, I pray for better days / Then found the better me, I got my head on straight.”
Cole has discussed a myriad of societal issues through his music in the past, including issues of race, inequality, dishonesty and drug use. Although it is unclear whether Cole will look to discuss issues of police brutality that have unfortunately been brought back to public light this year, given Cole’s commitment to speaking out on issues of injustice, one would expect Cole to address the topic somewhere in his album.
Listen to J. Cole’s two new singles, “The Climb Back” and “Lion King On Ice” below: