J. Cole took to Twitter on the 10 year anniversary of his first mixtape The Come Up to announce that his upcoming album The Off-Season is dropping on May 14th. The Off-Season is set to be Cole’s 6th studio album coming off of KOD in 2018 and Revenge of The Dreamers 3 in 2019.
Just know this was years in the making.— J. Cole (@JColeNC) May 4, 2021
My new album The Off-Season available everywhere 5/14 pic.twitter.com/aBw4po8fvx
Two days after announcing the release date and the album cover, J. Cole surprised fans by announcing a new single “i n t e r l u d e” dropping at midnight that very night.
Told myself I would drop the album all at once. Sometimes you gotta say fuck it tho.— J. Cole (@JColeNC) May 6, 2021
New song tonight. 12 o’clock.
“i n t e r l u d e”
from The Off-Season. pic.twitter.com/aOCOC8F8DC
Prior to J. Cole announcing the album, Bas (Dreamville rapper) posted a picture of J. Cole in the studio with the caption “The Off-Season. Pack your bags. in two weeks”. This post blew up around the hip-hop community and sparked anticipation for new music from Cole.
According to Bas,— Debating Hip-Hop (@DebatingHipHop_) April 29, 2021
J COLE IS DROPPING THE OFF-SEASON IN TWO WEEKS LETS GOOOOOOO pic.twitter.com/1dc39GvOkt
Following Bas’ post, J. Cole opened up Instagram and posted two stories in two days hyping up The Off-Season. At this point, we knew J. Cole season was upon us, it was only a matter of how soon and it was very sooner than we thought.
MIXTAPE COLE A DIFFERENT BREED pic.twitter.com/IhpzCvAFgV— Debating Hip-Hop (@DebatingHipHop_) May 3, 2021
J COLE SZNNNN pic.twitter.com/RFON210XLk— Debating Hip-Hop (@DebatingHipHop_) May 1, 2021
On Dec. 29th, 2020, J. Cole posted a to-do list before he supposedly retires from hip-hop. In January of 2020 Cole wrote a feature article for The Players Tribune about his life, love for basketball, and hip-hop. In the article, he details that there are a few things he still needs to do before he steps away from the mic. On this to-do list are five things; Features (crossed out), ROTD3 (crossed out), The Off-Season, It’s a Boy, and The Fall Off. The Off-Season being next on the to-do list had all of the attention.
On Nov. 9th, 2018, J. Cole mentioned The Off-Season again when he created a new playlist with all of his new songs and features and titled it “Where the fuck is The Off-Season”
Our first sighting of The Off-Season was back in 2018 when J.Cole released the “Album of The Year Freestyle” right after the release of his fifth studio album KOD. On the cover of the single, you can see a sign in the background, on that sign, it has his name, the song name but also “The Off-Season” below. To start the music video, there’s a black screen with text that says “What you are about to witness is a master class on preparation, THE OFF-SEASON.” At the time, we had no idea what The Off-Season was, but now it’s all coming together.