So far in the new year, we have heard much new music releases by a handful of artists; however, “Middle Child” by J. Cole is definiely a stand out so far. After six long years without releasing a single, J. Cole finally made a comeback with the release of this new song, which came out on January 23.
This track is the first official single J. Cole has come out with since 2013. Produced by T-Minus, J. Cole’s bars mesh perfectly with the percolating beats behind the lyrics. Arguably one of his best songs, “Middle Child” is part of J. Cole’s project titled “The Off-Season,” until his much anticipated sixth studio album titled “The Fall Off.”
In “Middle Child,” Cole’s lyrics are significant as he speaks about his place in the rap game. The song dances around the fact that J. Cole thinks that he is stuck between two generations.
Cole, who has been a star in music since 2007, is both a veteran and a relevant rapper. HIt is no wonder why he feels a little lost between the two generations. J. Cole raps about the artists who ed worthy lives yet have tragically passed away and he also hints at artists who don’t deserve to be famous yet that are.
Most likely, Cole is referring to the untimely deaths of controversial XXXTentacion and beloved Mac Miller, in 2018. Cole seems to dread being “stuck in the middle” — unable to relate to either music generation. Even though he is full of hope, he refers to his situation as being “dead in the middle.”
He ends the second verse with references to the oppression of African Americans and what they have endured for centuries. Cole does not forget to mention the gang wars where African American brothers kill each other daily.
Despite dropping some hot bars along the lines of being a middle child, J. Cole is not one himself, and has one older brother.
Towards the end of the song, he gives props to the classic rappers who came before him. “Was watching you when you was paving the ground,” he raps. “I studied the greats, I’m the greatest right now.” It’s so good to see J. Cole finally come back in style and assert his dominance in the rap world once again.