J. Cole releases new album, short doc and signs deal with Basketball Africa League all in the same week

J. Cole is a busy, busy man.
Published May 14, 2021 11:46 a.m. EST
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The three-year wait is finally over because J. Cole has officially released his sixth studio album, The Off-Season

Cole announced the release of his album last week in a tweet, writing, “Just know this was years in the making. My new album The Off-Season available everywhere 5.14.” The cover art features the rapper standing in front of a flaming basketball hoop.

Cole released “Interlude” last week to give fans a taste of what was to come on The Off-Season but the wait was totally worth it because the new record features appearances from Lil Baby, 21 Savage, Cam’ron, and more.

The new album features a track titled, “let go my hand,” which seemingly addresses Cole’s rumoured scuffle with Diddy in 2013 at an MTV Video Music Awards afterparty.

Cole allegedly intervened after a drunk Diddy attempted to spill a drink on THE Kendrick Lamar because he was reportedly mad over his verse on “Control.” It was reported that Diddy was triggered by Lamar's “King of New York" line.

Cole and Diddy got into an argument which led to a fight involving the rappers and their crews.

“I kept a tough demeanour on the surface but was mostly just pretendin’ / and luckily my bluff was workin’ way more often than not,” Cole raps. “But sometimes a n---a pulled my card, tryna explore me for a fraud / And with my reputation at stake / I was scufflin' just to save face / Couple wins, couple losses, some broken up too quick to call it."

"My last scrap was with Puff Daddy, who would’ve thought it? / I bought that n---a album in seventh grade and played it so much. / You would’ve thought my favourite rapper was Puff. / Back then I ain’t know s--t, now I know too much," Cole raps on the track.

In a twist of events, Diddy ends the song with a prayer, which suggests that the two have squashed their beef.

“Lord, please guide our steps," Diddy says. “Watch us, cover us, so that every move we make is in alignment with Your will, Your purpose."

“Please fill us with Your spirit, keep us forever in the present, for presence makes the strongest fathers. Teach us how to lead, show us how to love.”

J. Cole fans went nuts on Twitter when they heard the bars addressing the altercation with Diddy.

The North Carolina rapper also released his mini-documentary, Applying Pressure: The Off-Season. The Scott Lazer-directed doc chronicles Cole's inspiration behind the album, the title and what Cole has been up to leading up to the release of his sixth studio album.

Applying Pressure premiered on YouTube just four days before The Off-Season dropped. The doc, which runs just over 12 minutes, starts with 21 Savage asking Cole what made him say "Off Season?" Cole explains that he had a mixtape called "The Warm Up," when he was trying to get a deal in the industry and at that time he was struggling to pay his rent.

His friends gave him an intervention at a party and Cole started questioning why he didn't make it in basketball because he has a strong love for the sport. He delves into why he named his sixth album The Off-Season and gives fans a view of his creative process.

Speaking of his love for basketball, it was reported that Cole inked a deal in the Basketball Africa League with Rwanda's Patriots to play three to six games, with the first game taking place on Sunday.

The team will play Nigeria's Rivers Hoopers in the opening game for the first-ever Basketball Africa League (BAL). The Patriots' coach Alan Major confirmed the news to Rwanda TV on Monday and Cole arrived in Kigali last Saturday and is currently in quarantine ahead of Sunday's game. 

Rwandan paper The New Times tweeted a video of Cole wearing his Patriots jersey earlier this week.

Cole also became the first musical artist to grace the cover of Slam magazine earlier this week and discussed where his mind is at when it comes to the clear finish line of his musical career.

“Oh, bro, I’m super comfortable with the potential of being done with this s--t,” Cole explained. “But I’m never going to say, ‘Oh, this is my last album.’ … Because I never know how I’m going to feel two years, three years, four years down the line, 10 years down the line, but please believe, I’m doing all this work for a reason.”

For all of us Cole fans, we're hoping the finish line is nowhere in sight!


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