AOTY 2020
J. Cole - KOD
Critic Score
Based on 15 reviews
2018 Ratings: #609 / 830
User Score
2018 Ratings: #588
Liked by 18 people
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CRITIC REVIEWS

92
HipHopDX

J. Cole has a gift in turning tears into teaching tools and KOD is a concise, leather-bound audiobook of invaluable life direction goals.

80
NME

The North Carolina rapper goes from strength to strength with his powerful fifth album.

80
The Guardian

With only an alter-ego for company, J Cole casts himself as rap’s moral compass with this masterfully pared-back fifth album.

80
NOW Magazine

Cole doesn’t sacrifice any inch of rhythm or melody while detailing his cautionary tales. It’s clear he’s mastered the art of hiding medicine in candy.

80
XXL

While there are moments where Cole comes off more as a condescending high school principal than earnest older brother, KOD is an overall strong effort that connects of emotional trauma, mental health stigma in the Black community and the real problem of drug glorification.

75
Consequence of Sound

He doesn’t finesse his points; he douses them in gasoline and blows them up. And that’s great! We could all do with more fiery explosions in our music. Sometimes Cole gets wacky, but thankfully he’s never dull.

70
Rolling Stone

K.O.D. magnifies Cole's current status as a deliberate outsider, well versed in pop music's machinations even as he refuses to take part in them.

70
AllMusic

As the value of Cole's witticisms, and the intellect required to decrypt full meaning of his verses, continues to be debated, the increased strength in his clear-cut writing evinces promise of greater work ahead.

63
Pitchfork

On his new addiction-themed album, KOD, he loves to suggest that people should abstain from things—smoking, drinking, online dating. Sometimes, he’s persuasive, but just as often, he simply seems self-righteous.

60
PopMatters

From the onset of the album, we know what we're in store to receive. Whereas DAMN. finds Kendrick Lamar twisting and turning through wickedness and weakness, wrestling often through the same issues found here, Cole delivers it straight.

60
Spectrum Culture
When Cole talks about the world, he comes off too self-righteous, but when he hones in on his own world, or the shortened gravitational pull of specific figures, he finds a clarity that few of his peers can match.
50
The Needle Drop

J. Cole brings a lot of heart and salient points on KOD, but it's yet another mixed bag.

50
Highsnobiety
At the end of the day, the problem with J. Cole is this: he knows his limitations, and he just doesn’t care. He’d rather be the self-appointed voice of a generation than dig that little bit deeper and deliver his message in a way that might be more exciting, more innovative, more out-there.
40
Sputnikmusic

He’s always had a misguided obsession with the state of popular rap music, but KOD inflates that obsession into something bordering on pathological, if not rabid fulmination.

Z.Younk
30
He cements his place in hip-hop history with this one... as the corniest dude in the game.
frienderman
55
Power, greed, money, Molly, weed
Percs, Xanny, lean, fame
And the strongest drug of all...

...the morphine I took to lessen the physical pain that this album caused me
BradTasteMusic
NR
Did the man who invented college go to college?
Toasterqueen12
38
There was a minor period of my life where I thought J. Cole was just the coolest.
HOW LAME IS THAT LMAOOO XDDDD

I don't know what happened between the start of 2018 and the end of 2018 for me but I learned to hate what J. Cole stood for. J. Cole is your dad. Telling you what you can't listen to and what's real music. And Playboi Carti? Playboi Carti is the path to redemption. J. Cole is a man much more interested in explaining that society is bad instead of saying how to fix it. Oh wait he ... read more
MySoftBulletin
35
J. Cole continues to replicate the work of people who are far more talented than him while acting like he is God’s gift to earth. There was not a single moment here that I enjoyed, it was full of tired gimmicks and cringeworthy lyrics. The message he attempts to put across is of course a positive, but it deserves to be done in a way that would actually make people want to listen. This is an embarrassing mess of an album that sounds like the autistic brother of DAMN., but I suppose ... read more
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Track List

  1. Intro
  2. KOD
  3. Photograph
  4. The Cut Off (feat. kiLL edward)
  5. ATM
  6. Motiv8
  7. Kevin's Heart
  8. BRACKETS
  9. Once an Addict
  10. FRIENDS (feat. kiLL edward)
  11. Window Pain
  12. 1985
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Added on: April 17, 2018