J. Cole’s KOD May Be The Year’s Best Album & It Was Snubbed By The Grammys
This morning (December 7), the 2019 Grammy Awards nominations were announced. For fans of Kendrick Lamar and the Top Dawg Entertainment family, it was another exciting development. Even in a year when K-Dot did not release a solo album, he received eight nominations. SZA and Jay Rock joined him with big looks in major categories. Across the Rap and Hip-Hop landscape, Drake, Cardi B, Donald Glover, JAY-Z, Travis Scott, Anderson .Paak, Post Malone, Chris Dave & The Drumhedz, and Questlove all received nods as well.
For fans of the late Mac Miller, Swimming shows that tragedy struck at a time as Malcolm McCormick was making some of his most compelling music. Pusha-T, Nipsey Hussle, and the aforementioned Scott garnered pinnacle recognition for their respective 2018 releases, all grabbing nominations in the “Best Rap Album” category. Bronx, New Yorker Cardi is also in that contest with her major label debut.
However, for those following 2018 in music closely, there was one massive snub—J. Cole’s KOD. While Jermaine Cole is recognized for collaborations with Miguel (“Best R&B Song” for “Come Through & Chill”) and 6LACK (“Best Rap/Sung Performance” for “Pretty Little Fears”), there was no recognition for Cole’s April LP, which did not go under any radars; the #1 Dreamville/Roc Nation/Interscope Records release broke an all-time streaming record upon dropping.
Dating back to a 2012 “Best New Artist” nomination, Cole has been considered five times for trophies. He has never won. 2016 was the last year he was nominated for his albums or songs.
Notably, on 2014 Forest Hills Drive, a Grammy-nominated album, the MC/producer took a swing at the awards for a trend he did not like. On 2014’s “Fire Squad,” Cole spit: “History repeats itself, and that’s just how it goes / Same way that these rappers always bite each others flows / Same thing that my ni**a Elvis did with Rock & Roll / Justin Timberlake, Eminem, and then Macklemore / While silly ni**as argue over who gone snatch the crown / Look around, my ni**a, white people have snatched the sound / This year I’ll prolly go to the awards dappered down / Watch Iggy win a Grammy as I try to crack a smile / I’m just playin’, but all good jokes contain true sh*t.” That comment closed out a year when Seattle, Washington duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis won four trophies, including “Rap Album Of The Year,” “Best Rap Performance,” and “Best Rap Song.”
Cole’s KOD has been recognized and praised for its topicality. The LP addresses drug addiction and mental health in a year where both are global epidemics. Mac Miller, who Cole produced this year, died of a drug overdose in September. Additionally, Cole confronted the younger generation with wisdom about finances, respecting those who came before them in the industry, and meditating above medicating.
Despite nominations at the MTV Video Music Awards, BET Awards (and its Hip Hop ceremony), K.O.D. has not taken home any significant trophies to date.
Last November, Q-Tip called out the Grammy nominating board for what he felt was a snub to A Tribe Called Quest’s final album. Like KOD, that 2016 LP was also a chart-topper.
#BonusBeat: This episode of TBD makes a case for why J. Cole’s K.O.D. deserves all the props, and then some: