January 28th by J. Cole
The title of this track, “January 28th”, is actually J. Cole’s birthday. But the song itself is not necessarily about his life in that it is basically the same, content-wise, as most of his other tracks. He likely chose the name as an acknowledgement of his label boss, Jay-Z, who previously released a song titled after his own birthday that also served as the second track on one of Jigga’s albums.
However, “January 28th” does, at some points, deal with J’s past. For instance, he’s able to boast that he never had to sell drugs and that he’s not one of the many rappers who fabricates stories. In fact the chorus of the song basically instructs listeners not to sell their souls or devalue themselves. Additionally, a good portion of “January 28th” serves as a social commentary, which once again is common of J. Cole.
The most-notably lyrics of this track is when Cole makes mention of a number of rappers, including Drake and Kendrick Lamar, in a somewhat unfavorable fashion in reference to him sharing a birthday with rap legend Rakim. In other words, J states that he and Rakim, known in some circles as “God MC”, are indeed rap deities while those who weren’t born on January 28th are not. In actuality, these lyrics don’t mean anything. In fact J and Drizzy are known allies. These lyrics are most likely Cole’s successful attempt to use big names in a way that sounds like a dis in order to make the song more popular.