Your fav rapper’s favorite rapper released a critical and controversial album, KOD, on 4/20. Beating Drake’s streaming records on Apple Music and Spotify, J.Cole has once again shown us the lyrical depth needed to balance out the game. Along with the new album, J. Cole has also blessed us with two visuals for the tracks “ATM” and “Kevin’s Heart.” Many rappers have become more methodological with their music videos painting a picture for fans that could be more impactful than the track by itself. Both songs seemingly have similar overtones that explore the choices we make and what we choose to follow.
The video, reflective of the album’s artwork, features a high J. Cole with a crown, holding a hook with a dollar bill attached to it while sitting on a hovering throne with some children not far behind him floating on a pill and codeine bottle. The description of that image, as disturbing as it may read, is a reality we are not readily facing. While Cole is specifically talking about himself in the song, his experiences are definitely relatable to us all. The video further explores many other themes from being addicted to money, money having control over people’s lives, the selling of pieces of yourself for material goods to money making us crazy. “Choose wisely.”
The video for Kevin’s Heart follows comedian Kevin Hart’s experiences presumably following the aftermath of his very public cheating scandal last year. In the video, we observe Kevin go through a range of emotions from shame, temptation, guilt, frustration all leading to him ultimately having to learn how to cope with his decision. It also explores how celebrities must struggle with their private business being everyone else’s business and being judged on a constant basis. “Choose wisely.” While we only see Cole in one scene throughout the video, we see him having a specific moment that exactly parallels Kevin’s. This could be telling of Cole’s own personal struggles, as he has discussed cheating and temptation on other tracks like “She Knows” and “Never Told.”