“The way of the consumerist culture is to spend so much energy chasing happiness that it has none left to be happy.” – Criss Jami
To God Be the glory and the overseer of our stories. Backpedaling to times when we peddled forward on our bikes and tagged friends outside instead of in posts. Back to a time when we played hide and go seek instead of hiding our ‘identity’ and seeking external validation before internal value.
2005-2006, I began shifting to my computer, and outdoor activities became foreign territory. My new language of technology placed me in a trance—during all hours. As I look back into my days, those were some of the greatest times I had in life, but I didn’t appreciate them as much as I could’ve. I can taste the popsicles from the ice cream truck that my best friends and I would grab—before continuing our bike travels and going in our own orbit, spacing out our destinations, on our own terms.
Three levels are entered: adolescence, the hunger for more, and the never-ending need for more. A vicious cycle it becomes, when we bring in the concept of money—the need, the craving, and the illusion.
I’m still in orbit, but it’s much absorbed in obligations I’d rather not have. I don’t believe it comes down to “adulting” because I enjoy being an adult. I enjoy my job, family, girlfriend, friends, freedom–well, that’s just it–what kind of freedom?
“Shit, all of my better days, I shared with you… and now I gotta wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up
Shit, stuck inside a rat race (fuck.)” – J. Cole on “Boblo Boat”
Cole hasn’t shied away from telling us parts about his adolescence. “03’ Adolescence” is Jermaine in his most poised stance and showcases the art of storytelling. Despite songs like the aforementioned, there’s still more to the narrative and more to the chapters, chapters that glides into Cole’s said-project after KOD. Perhaps to a time when problems were lesser.
Per DJBooth, there are 12 tracks on Cole’s album. The last track titled “1985” is the introduction of another Cole album. During his pop-up in NYC, Cole wouldn’t offer any other details.
On Boblo Boat, Cole alludes to more substance around his childhood tales.
“We had no Bob-Lo boat but I could note
Those times is like a Bible quote
BC, before cell phones, the first time I would smoke
I was 6-years-old, but that’s for another chapter
That’s for another story, to God be the glory”
I love the concept of Boblo Boat’s music video. It’s telling. Cole directed the music video. The visual follows the shenanigans of teenagers as they escape into trouble, with not one ounce of troubling times on their mind. They run free through an amusement park which brings more of Cole’s thoughts to life—life before the rat race.
Sex before college admission, Dented Civic riding displaying gratitude, smoking at the age of six, and having problems that he would kill for now— this wraps up Cole’s Boblo Boat verse with Royce Da 5’9.
The title of Cole’s album is KOD, acronym standing for Kids on Drugs, King Overdosed and Kill our Demons. The title is attached to Cole rapping about smoking, at the age of six. The last track of “1985” may lead into another Cole project that goes further into the Cole story. We know his come up, his warm up, and when he blew up, but what about Jermaine before the actual work was even thought about? Theory meets logic.
After hearing Cole’s “Once An Addict (Interlude,” the verdict is in: “Boblo Boat” served as the segway for Cole to speak about his younger days in his mama’s house. She tried to escape the pain that was brought into her world. Following this, Cole tried to escape the pain and sorrow that trickled down into his world, from his mom. Cole shows his guilt in his music, for not helping find better ways for his mother to cope with pain. It sounds like Cole feels a responsibility to speak out on the issue of demons, pain, and turmoil. While I hope Cole doesn’t think meditation alone will conquer all that we face as human beings, I do applaud his efforts to offer a method.
“Whether you want to or not, you’re gonna fuck your kids up in some type of way,” Cole said during his KOD trailer. “Cause you got fucked up in some type of way. The plan is to fuck your kids up—the least amount possible. But it’s gonna be some sort of mistake you made that they’ll have to fucking grow up and face.”
Killing our demons is the end goal. Meditate—sit in silence and think about a time in your past that fucked you up, like really. That pain carries over for a lot of us. Acknowledgment is the first step. Pain is worst when you don’t understand it. Ignorance is a founding father of pain to begin with.
Nonetheless, the theme of “rat race” stands out to me the most in “Boblo Boat.” The distractions that we endure everyday, even money, which Cole has spoke about on numerous occasions. The human rat race also draws us away from happiness. We become distracted and before we’re aware, the energy needed to actually be genuinely happy is no longer our strength; it’s a wretched reality. Recently, I had to tell my part-time job that I was unable to work as many hours as I used to. The money successfully contributed to my direct deposit every other week, but my sanity departed. Suddenly, I realized that I was in my own rat race. There never was enough, because the race never ends. Please slide the mirage out of my view.
“The reality is simple: money is a vehicle for social control. Debt makes us good, obedient workers and citizens.”
The evolution of Cole is one of relativity. Battling demons and achieving heaven on earth—the goal of now.