Yesterday, J Cole released his new single, “Middle Child,” the first in a long line of releases the rapper and his label Dreamville are on track to deliver this year.
The first single Cole has released since 2013, “Middle Child” stands out from the rapper’s discography with its heavier production and Auto-Tune. But the open-hearted lyrics are there and Cole’s energy more than matches the thumping bass.
Cole raps about plenty on this one, dropping some pointed bars about beef some have speculated concern the spat between Drake and Kanye West: “But I’d never beef with a n***a for nothin’ / If I smoke a rapper, it’s goin’ be legit / It won’t be for clout, it won’t be for fame / It won’t be ’cause my shit ain’t selling the same.”
Cole also surveys his position in the hip hop landscape, contemplating the generational gulf between OGs and the new wave of rappers he previously called out in “1985.” Where does Cole belong? “I’m dead in the middle of two generations / I’m little bro and big bro all at once,” he raps.
This hard-hitting track, complete with some trademark Cole introspection, should get the ball rolling for Dreamville this year. Listen to “Middle Child” below.