J. Cole traverses the landscape of his musical world, looking at the past, present and the future, while asserting his own standing within the rap pantheon in his new song “Middle Child.” The track is the first official single J. Cole has released since 2013.
Produced by T-Minus, J. Cole’s loquacious bars glide over the percolating beats and horn melodies. After calling out those who have been “counting me out,” he encourages others that are on the come-up. “I’m glad that you came/I hope that you scrape every dollar you can.” He also gives props to the OGs who came before him: “Was watching you when you was paving the ground/I copied your cadence, I mirrored your style,” he raps. “I studied the greats, I’m the greatest right now.”
J. Cole is currently in the studio working on his sixth album, the follow-up to last year’s KOD, which was his fifth consecutive Number One atop the Billboard 200 chart. The rapper is also completing his Dreamville compilation release, Revenge of the Dreamers III. Outside of his own personal projects, he’s recently collaborated on fellow artists’ tracks for a string of features, including Jay Rock’s “OSOM,” Wale’s “My Boy” and 6lack’s “Pretty Little Liars.”