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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.

Interview

A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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