On May 14, Roc Nation emcee Jermaine Cole is expected to drop his next body of work named The Off-Season. The North Carolina native, better known as J. Cole, presented a new 12-minute mini-doc before the project hits DSPs this Friday.
“Applying Pressure: The Off-Season Documentary” was published on YouTube yesterday (May 10). The Scott Lazer-directed video opened with J. Cole talking to his “a lot” collaborator 21 Savage in the studio about the meaning behind The Off-Season title.
At one point, Cole tells 21, “That’s where The Warm Up [mixtape] came from. Every day I woke up, wrote verses, made beats. All that to say, The Off-Season was like the same concept. One more time before I leave, before I feel fulfilled in this game, let me try to reach new heights from a skill level standpoint.”
In addition, J. Cole spoke about being appreciative of reaching a position of comfortability, and he discussed wanting to spend more time with his family. Chapter 2 of The Off-Season documentary was labeled “Father Time.”
On fatherhood, the 36-year-old spitter said, “It was almost like a clock went off. Before life completely changes, I was like, ‘Damn, I need to refocus, wake back up, lock back in, and begin the process of The Fall-Off.’ Which is reaching its highest height before I feel like I can comfortably just relax.”
The Fall-Off is yet another music project Cole is apparently creating. He has been teasing that particular effort since 2018’s KOD album which ended with a track titled “1985 (Intro to The Fall Off).” Then the SoundCloud description for his “Album Of The Year (Freestyle)” in 2018 read, “The Off Season coming soon… All roads lead to The Fall Off.”
Some J. Cole supporters were already speculating that the Dreamville Records co-founder hinted at retirement with a cryptic Instagram post in December. The IG image of a notebook page with the phrases “The Fall Off Era,” “The Off-Season,” “It’s A Boy,” and “The Fall Off” was perceived by some fans as Cole sharing his final “to-do list” with his followers.
Near the end of the “Applying Pressure” documentary, Cole can also be heard saying, “Letting people know: The Off-Season, It’s A Boy, The Fall-Off is coming. Now that the possibility of not doing this s### seems real, and I’m at peace with that, don’t have a regret.”
Back in 2014, around the time he released 2014 Forest Hills Drive, J. Cole spoke about possibly retiring early from the Hip Hop game. The entertainer/businessman expressed that he would be “content” if Forest Hills Drive was his final album, saying “That would be the illest note to leave listeners with.”
J. Cole likely has at least two more album eras before he steps off the court for good. The Off-Season period kicked off with the well-received “Interlude” (stylized as “i n t e r l u d e”) single. The record was produced by Cole, T-Minus, and Tommy Parker. Both “Applying Pressure: The Off-Season Documentary” and “Interlude” are currently trending on YouTube.