Many rap greats have alter egos. Tupac had Makaveli, Eminem has Slim Shady, and Nicki Minaj might still be toying around with Roman Zolanski. Basically, everybody in the Wu-Tang Clan has more than one moniker. But this morning, J. Cole may have revealed an alter ego of his own, kiLL edward.
The first hint came in the tracklisting for his newest album KOD, which reportedly stands for “Kids on Drugs,” “King Overdosed,” or “Killing Our Demons.” The project, due Friday (April 20), has only one featured guest, kiLL edward, and he appears on two songs (“The Cut Off” and “Friends”).
J. Cole is infamous for lacking guests. His last two albums, 2014 Forest Hills Drive and 4 Your Eyez Only, had no credited guest appearances. Therefore, fans immediately raised their eyebrows when they saw one act on two tracks. It begged the question: Who is kiLL edward? A quick search on any streaming service yields at least part of the answer.
It turns out kiLL edward released a song called “Tidal Wave – just a little reference” on all of the major streaming services. He dropped the song today, according to Apple Music, but it’s unclear if it appeared elsewhere before. Most notably, kiLL edward’s raspy singing voice sounds very much like J. Cole’s, only slightly pitched down.
There’s another sign that says J. Cole might simply be kiLL edward. Earlier this week, Cole held a private listening session for the album in New York. Several reporters and fans huddled inside of the Gramercy Theatre to hear the new project and not one of them mentioned a featured artist. Many were sworn to secrecy, but they still leaked a variety of album tidbits including song titles like “1985.” No one mentioned guests.
It might seem likely that Cole is kiLL edward based on all of this, but fans have been wrong about alter egos before. In 2014, many believed Your Old Droog dropped a secret Nas project with his voice pitched down. That turned out to be false. In 2015, some mistakenly thought Jay Rock was Lance Skiiiwalker on 90059. That was also incorrect. Cole World fans will most likely find out who the real kiLL edward is, and if the apparent alter ego means anything, when J. Cole drops KOD this Friday (April 20).