Ahead of its release, Cole has shared the tracklist for the project via Instagram, which includes a dozen tracks and seemingly no features. The cover art for the back of the album includes the same basketball hoop on fire featured on the front.
The Dreamville leader wrote a simple caption along with the photo that read, “Tracklist. Album at midnight.”
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Other details on the back cover art include the mention of executive producers T-Minus, Ibrahim Hamad and J. Cole himself. According to T-Minus, who produced the album’s lead single “interlude,” Cole has hit his stride with this one.
“After hearing ‘interlude,’ I was telling him, ‘Bro, it’s crazy. It feels like you’re hitting a prime,” he told Complex. “‘These are some of the best bars and writing I’ve heard from you ever in your career.’ Just his delivery and everything is going. Even from a production perspective, I’m really loving what he’s doing. So I mean, expect The Off-Season to be full of fire.”
Co-producer Tommy Parker added, “I cannot wait to hear it myself. I’ve been listening to ‘interlude’ since it came out. And I’m a part of it, but it’s been on repeat. So I can’t wait until this album comes out.”
Par for the course, Cole’s return to the spotlight has come with a little controversy. After his appearance on Power 106 FM’s L.A. Leakers show, Cole caught some flak for one of his freestyles. While rhyming over Souls of Mischief’s 1993 classic “93 Til Infinity,” he spit a controversial line about disgraced comedian Bill Cosby who’s currently incarcerated for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman.
“Or who they debatin’ is better/Let’s face it, he one of the greatest,” he rapped. “No Bill Cosby shit, but if n-ggas is sleepin’, then fuck ’em,” he spit. “Most n-ggas don’t understand me/I don’t do the GRAMMYs, I be in my jammies on sofa/Most n-ggas don’t understand me.”
Although there were plenty of people outraged by the name-drop, there were just as many fawning over Cole’s skills, including Jermaine Dupri.
Watch the freestyles below.