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Album artwork by sixmau

J. Cole Reveals Zanzibar's Influence Behind 'KOD'

J. Cole spoke to fans on Twitter about the island's significance to his new album.

J. Cole's fifth album KOD has been out for a week now, but there's a lot we still don't know about it. After all, after announcing the meanings of the title on Twitter, he simply left us with: "The rest of the album I leave to your interpretation."

But in a Q&A with fans over Twitter yesterday, Cole was more forthcoming, revealing that Zanzibar was more involved in the album than we originally thought.

When one follower asked about his favorite memory while writing the album, J. Cole said that it was Zanzibar, writing that he recorded "The Cut Off," "Kevin's Heart," "Friends," and "Window Pain" back to back while in Tanzania.


@JColeNC favorite memory while writing the album?
— Dale (@Simply_Dale) April 26, 2018
Zanzibar. Did The cut off, Kevin's heart, FRIENDS and window pain back to back to back. Plus Royce feature. Super zone. "With my son in Tanzanian sun rays thinking bout them days." I got blessed. https://t.co/umgS5M8hFv
— J. Cole (@JColeNC) April 26, 2018

He went on to explain that the title of the album came to him while he was in Zanzibar as well. Cole clarified the three meanings of KOD through the album trailer, the day before its release. The first, Kids on Drugs, notes society's instinct to respond to any issues with medication. The second, King Overdosed, reflects Cole himself, and the times when he uses similar vices—alcohol, sex, phone addiction—to escape his own problems. Finally, Kill Our Demons describes the call to face one's reasons for wanting to escape.

Responding to a Twitter follower's question about when the album was named, Cole writes that KOD came immediately to him once he had recorded one of his songs (likely "Window Pain"), and that the three meanings followed mere seconds after that.

did you know you were going to name this project KOD before you finished it or after @JColeNC
— zion (@HiiiPower1998) April 26, 2018
While in Zanzibar workin' on one of the songs, maybe window pain, I asked myself what is the name of this album that I just fucked around and made. KOD came immediately. "What the fuck do that mean?" I asked. the 3 meanings followed in seconds. In tune. https://t.co/fChUwQ7vFT
— J. Cole (@JColeNC) April 26, 2018

We're keeping an eye out for more information and releases from J. Cole. As he's proved over the last week, his surprises are definitely worth waiting for.

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Screenshot from the upcoming film Warriors of a Beautiful Game

In Conversation: Pelé's Daughter is Making a Documentary About Women's Soccer Around the World

In this exclusive interview, Kely Nascimento-DeLuca shares the story behind filming Warriors of a Beautiful Game in Zanzibar, Brazil and other countries.

It may surprise you to know that women's soccer was illegal in Brazil until 1981. And in the UK until 1971. And in Germany until 1970. You may have read that Sudan made its first-ever women's league earlier this year. Whatever the case, women and soccer have always had a rocky relationship.

It wasn't what women wanted. It certainly wasn't what they needed. However, society had its own ideas and placed obstacle after obstacle in front of women to keep ladies from playing the game. Just this year the US national team has shown the world that women can be international champions in the sport and not get paid fairly compared to their male counterparts who lose.

Kely Nascimento-DeLuca is looking to change that. As the daughter of international soccer legend Pelé, she is no stranger to the game. Growing up surrounded by the sport, she was actually unaware of the experiences women around the world were having with it. It was only recently that she discovered the hardships around women in soccer and how much it mirrored women's rights more generally.

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Bas Announces New Album, Talks African Influences In His Music & More on Beats 1 Radio

In an interview on Apple Music's Beats 1 Radio, the artist reveals a new project dropping in September and discusses what he learned on a recent trip to Lagos with J.Cole.

Rapper and Dreamville signee Bas, just released his latest project Spilled Milk 1 last week, but he already has another project up his sleeves.

The artist took to Apple Music's Beats 1 Radio on Monday to speak with host Nadeska to talk about his latest album which features fellow Dreamville artists Ari Lennox, EARTHGANG, Nigerian artist Kiddominant and more. He also revealed that he'll be dropping another full length album next month.

READ: Bas: "I Was Born in France & Raised in New York But I'm Still African"Bas: "I Was Born in France & Raised in New York But I'm Still African"

The Paris-born, New York-raised rapper of Sudanese heritage also spoke about his 2018 trip to Nigeria with J. Cole, which was the inspiration for his song "Jollof Rice," and a way of paying homage to the continent and the culture (there's also a song on the project called "Fried Rice.")

Bas - Jollof Rice feat. EarthGang (Official Audio + Lyric Video) www.youtube.com

OkayAfrica spoke with the artist about his trip to Lagos last year, and he described an eye-opening performance: "The songs didn't have J. Cole featured on them but while performing, thousands of Lagos people were rapping with me word for word and I was like, what the hell is going on here," said Bas. "I was unaware, I didn't know my music was known that much. I was very surprised with all the love and support I was getting from people. It was very inspiring to show that there is so much room to make music because there is so much culture and energy there."

The artist also discusses working with fellow rappers Vince Staples, Smino and more. You can listen to Bas' full interview on Apple Music's Beats 1 Radio below.

News Brief

Listen to Hymphatic Thabs’ New Album ‘Centre of the Universe’

Hymphatic Thabs releases his first album in 12 years.

Legendary South African lyricist Hymphatic Thabs hasn't released an album since 2007's The Age of Horus. Last week, Thabs was one of the 26 pioneers who were inducted into the South African Hip Hop Museum's Hennessy Wall of Fame.

Today, the rapper shared a new album titled Centre of the Universe on his bandcamp page.

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Left: Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images; Center: Photo by Leon Bennett/WireImage; Right: Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Netflix

Trevor Noah, Lupita Nyong'o, Cynthia Erivo & Mati Diop Nominated for 2020 Critics Choice Awards

Check out the full list of 2020 nominees for the 2020 Critics Choice Awards.

This past Sunday, the full list of nominees for the 2020 Critics Choice Awards was announced.

Among the nominees are South African comedian and host of the The Daily Show, Trevor Noah, for his Netflix comedy special Son of Patricia, Lupita Nyong'o for her role in the horror film Us, Cynthia Erivo for her role in the Harriet Tubman biopic Harriet and French-Senegalese filmmaker Mati Diop for her film Atlantics.

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