The Real is back. J. Cole delivers “Middle Child,” his first official single since 2013.
After announcing the song earlier in the week, the North Carolina rapper drops the highly-anticipated track. Over the T-Minus production, Cole—who is not a middle child himself—addresses his place in the industry and shouts out October’s Very Own.
“Just put the Rollie right back on my wrist / This watch came from Drizzy, he gave me a gift,” he raps. “They act like two legends cannot co-exist / But I never beef with a ni**a for nothin’ / If I smoke a rapper, it’s gon’ be legit / It won’t be for clout, it won’t be for fame / It won’t be ’cause my shit ain’t sellin’ the same / It won’t be to sell you my latest lil’ sneakers / It won’t be ’cause some ni**as slid in my lane.”
He also shows love to the newcomers (“I love you lil’ ni**as, I’m glad that you came / I hope that you scrape every dollar you can”) and the OGs (“I copied your cadence, I mirrored your style”) before declaring, “I’m the greatest right now.”
In addition to shouting out JAY-Z, 21 Savage, and Kodak Black (“I wish that he had more guidance for real”), Cole gives fans something they can feel. “I just poured something in my cup / I’ve been wanting something I can feel,” he raps on the hook. “Promise I ain’t never lettin’ up / Money in your palm don’t make you real.”
Leading up to the release, Cole posted photos of famous middle children on social media, including Britney Spears, Martha Stewart, Michael Jordan, Bill Gates, Jennifer Lopez, and even Lisa Simpson.
2019 is shaping up to be a big year for Dreamville. The label plans to release three projects in the first half of 2019—the Revenge of the Dreamers III compilation, Ari Lennox’s Shea Butter Baby, and EarthGang’s Mirrorland. Additionally, Cole is in the studio recording his sixth studio album.
— J. Cole (@JColeNC) January 24, 2019
“This how I’m coming all year,” tweeted Cole. “This how @dreamville coming all 2019.”
Just last week, he wrapped the recording sessions for Revenge of the Dreamers III, which took place in Atlanta over the course of 10 days, with artists including T.I., DJ Khaled, Wale, and Swizz Beatz.