By: Papa Minnow

Coming off of the recent marketing campaign for the Revenge Of The Dreamers III sessions, J. Cole dropped his newest single MIDDLE CHILD on Wednesday night last week. Within minutes, fans and contemporaries alike rushed to hear what was in store for the upcoming release.

The consensus amongst them was split between “another boring J. Cole song” and “that new J. Cole song is fire!” which is often the case amongst the culture when it comes to J. Cole’s style. However, it’s apparent with this release that Cole is attempting to reach out to the younger crowd with a more familiar triplet flow and a hook that alludes to the use of substances as Cole croons “I just poured something in my cup.”

It’s in this attempt where we find the premise of MIDDLE CHILD, one that speaks of Cole’s position in the rap game currently. In verse one, Cole establishes his greatness as a legend amongst the likes of Drake:

“Just put the Rollie right back on my wrist
This watch came from Drizzy, he gave me a gift
Back when the rap game was prayin’ I’d diss
They act like two legends cannot coexist”

The Fayetteville rapper also has some choice words the rap industry that likely pertain to Kanye West:

“But I’d never beef with a n—- for nothin’
If I smoke a rapper, it’s gon’ be legit
It won’t be for clout, it won’t be for fame
It won’t be ’cause my shit ain’t sellin’ the same
It won’t be to sell you my latest lil’ sneakers
It won’t be ’cause some n—- slid in my lane”

Kanye’s most recent beef with Drake was one of the most prominent stories of last year. From that situation a lot came to light about how Kanye felt about Drake as an artist, his shoe deal with Nike, and his success. Cole explains how he feels no need to beef with anyone for these reasons unlike how some other greats have.

As he addresses the generation before him, verse 2 is where Cole takes time to talk to the younger generation that’s followed under him:

“I’m dead in the middle of two generations
I’m little bro and big bro all at once
Just left the lab with young 21 Savage
I’m ’bout to go and meet Jigga for lunch
Had a long talk with the young n—- Kodak
Reminded me of young n—-s from ‘Ville
Straight out the projects, no fakin’, just honest
I wish that he had more guidance, for real”

MIDDLE CHILD is a good song, there’s no denying that. However, for how the song was marketed (Cole deleting all his Instagram photos to post the artwork for MIDDLE CHILD, tweeting famous middle children and bars that seemed to allude to going at rappers, plus the ROTD3 sessions),  it appeared as though the rapper would be making a huge statement with this song and that feeling fell short.

Cole needed a tougher tone, one not unlike his style on his Looking For Trouble verse where his cadence was unswerving and aggressive.

The final product seems to find itself in the middle camp between “boring J.Cole” and “this song is fire”, as J. Cole approached it with a nonchalant flow and open ended bars that can apply to several rappers today. Once again, it’s by no means terrible, but MIDDLE CHILD falls short of the hype that preceded it.

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