Ahead of J. Cole’s highly anticipated new album, The Off-Season, the North Carolina-based MC has released a documentary, Applying Pressure: The Off-Season, arriving this Friday, May 14. Executive produced by Cole and Ibrahim Hamad, the film was directed by Scott Lazer.
The visual offers a unique insight into the reclusive artist, featuring other MCs like 21 Savage. Cole goes deep into the meaning behind The Off-Season in the documentary, explaining how the title reflects his early mixtape, The Warm-Up, which he released before getting a record deal.
“I had just graduated college, I was broke, I was struggling to pay my rent, I had no job. I was being complacent,“ Cole explains to 21 during the beginning of the documentary. He went on to explain how friends gave him an intervention, decrying his partying ways and lack of fire.
Cole realized that if he wanted to rap, he had to hustle and work towards his goals every day. Cole thought a basketball analogy would be a fitting representation of his grinding mentality, because he had always loved the game but never worked hard enough to take his skills to the next level. Rapping became his game, the moment he realized there was no such thing as an off season.
Last week, J.Cole offered fans an early taste of The Off-Season with “i n t e r l u d e,” which the MC produced alongside T-Minus and T. Parker. The track proves that Cole is still at the height of his powers and one of the best pure lyricists in the game. He raps, “Through hard times, it was there I discovered a hustle/And makin’ the best out the struggle/I kept grindin’ ’til this day, up a level/Respect mine, gotta stay out of trouble.”
“i n t e r l u d e” follows “The Climb Back” and “Lion King on Ice,” the first new songs the Dreamville boss has released since his single, “Snow on Tha Bluff.” Following the release of KOD, Cole appeared as a guest on songs by Gang Starr, Young Thug, Cordae, Big K.R.I.T., and more.