“Interlude” by J. Cole
J. Cole is a relatively-conscious, intellectual rapper who raps songs to be multi-subjected. So in analyzing this one (“Interlude”) we will take a step-by-step, linear approach, beginning with the intro.
Intro of “Interlude”
In the intro, the rapper acknowledges that he and his have “come a long way”. That’s another way of saying his current status as a successful musician is a big step from his days growing up in the ‘hood.
However, going back to Cole’s consciousness, he doesn’t use the opportunity to brag, at least not at first, as most of his peers would do. Instead he understands that no one can see the future, and tomorrow can bring either victory or defeat.
Then the track only consists of one, extended verse. J commences by pointing to the notion that you have to be on guard for “undercovers”, a term which, generally speaking, alludes to untrustworthy individuals.
Then that brings us to one of his perennial topics, which is street violence. However, he does not approach such as one who engages in it. Rather for beginners, he is sympathizing with a family he knows, in which one of its male members has apparently recently met such a fate.
Such observations are meant to lead us to the fact that growing up in the ‘hood is tough. However, it was also under such circumstances that the narrator developed a work ethic. And he did so largely in the name of doing something constructive, i.e. staying out of the type of trouble as mentioned above.
But that noted, pretty much the entirety of the second half of the verse is dedicated to just how “hot”, i.e. dangerous, the “block” is. We would presume that J. Cole, who as of 2020 is said to be worth some $60,000,000, doesn’t actually live in the ‘hood anymore.
But obviously he is still in tune with life in the ghetto. And once again, his sentimental reaction to the violent crime which plagues his old community is one of sympathy. In fact he even gives a couple of shoutouts to Jesus. In the first case he suggests that like him, dudes should perhaps take a more pacifist approach as opposed to regularly resorting to the gat in the name of conflict resolution.
And he ultimately concludes the verse by namedropping a couple of deceased rappers, Pimp C (1973-2007) and Nipsey Hussle (1985-2019). Both Pimp and Nipsey, like Jesus, left the mortal plane at the age of 33.
Then the artist brings the whole track to a close along the same lines it began, with him acknowledging the uncertainty of the future. This time around though he gets a bit more braggadocious, asserting that he has “seen the highest heights”, “twice” even.
But he has also bore witness to the “lowest of the lows”. And all lyrics considered, this would in fact be a come-up song, i.e. one in which Cole is celebrating overcoming the ‘hood. Well, ‘celebrating’ may be too strong of a word.
What we are instead dealing with here is someone who has in fact beaten the odds. But the depths he has ascended from were so harrowing that even to this day, he feels for those who are still caught up in the struggle. Indeed that disposition has more or less defined J. Cole’s musical output as we know it.
Information about “Interlude”
Being released on 7 May 2021, “Interlude” marks the first track J. Cole has dropped since his July 2020 single “Lion King on Ice”.
The title of this song is actually stylized all in lower caps, with a space in between each letter.
J. Cole wrote and produced this tune alongside two other musicians, T-Minus and Tommy Parker, the former of whom he has an established collaboration history with.
This track is from a forthcoming J. Cole studio album, which will be his eighth, entitled “The Off-Season”. And to note, this is a project which the rapper has been teasing at least since 2018.
As of the release of this track, Cole can be considered one of the most-happening rappers in the game. Not only has he established himself as a hip-hop A lister, but he has also been able to lead the label he founded, Dreamville Records, to notable success.
For instance, the compilation album the crew dropped in 2019, “Revenge of the Dreamers III”, topped Billboard’s Rap Albums as well as R&B Hip/Hop Albums and mainstream pop albums’ (i.e. Billboard 200) lists.
The year before that Cole dropped a solo joint, “KOD”, which performed likewise. And so did all four of the studio albums he came out with as a soloist prior to that, beginning with 2011’s “Cole World: The Sideline Story”.
So considering that it’s been over three years since the issuance of “KOD”, many people are looking forward to “The Off-Season”, which is a product of Interscope Records.