Jermaine Lamarr Cole is known as one of the most divisive rappers these days, and everything suggests that he has no desire to change his bizarre style. J. Cole’s new single, ATM is supported by a colorful and supremely strange video that goes straight to the heart of that he considers to be a generational problem: money.
ATM is a promotional single for J. Cole’s new album, KOD. The video for ATM is a cartoon-like extravaganza tale about a rapper who strikes the big time and quickly runs out of cash. Judging by this first single, J. Cole has every intention of calling out what he sees wrong with hip-hop. ATM cannot be defined as a rap classic; in fact, J. Cole has confessed that he only spent a couple of weeks producing and recording KOD, but the hilarious message delivered by ATM feels like it could be timeless.
It should be noted that J. Cole’s lyrical delivery on ATM is clear and spot-on; this is a indictment on the current wave of “mumble rappers” and trap MCs who deviate from the sharp rhymes delivered during the Golden Age of rap. All tracks in KOD have a common purpose to parody the current state of hip-hop, which J. Cole is not very happy with.
The release of KOD has been mostly kept secret, and this is purely intentional. Material and emotional greed are two heavy-handed themes that J. Cole explores in KOD, and he believes that secretly rolling out his new album will send a strong message to rappers such as Drake and Kanye West, both known to use social media as a teasing platform for shameless promotion.
To promote KOD, J. Cole published a single Twitter update inviting followers and journalists to a secret listening party. Since there is always a catch with J. Cole, guests were not allowed to bring smartphones, recording devices or even pen and paper.