"This is the moment that a lot of your favorite rappers hit a crossroads," Cole says in the 26-second teaser clip, during which he hops on a midnight flight, toils in the studio and shoots hoops by himself. "Are you okay with getting comfortable? Did you leave no stone unturned creatively? And when I thought about that feeling, I was like, 'Nah, I'm not cool with that.'"
The album, due out on Thursday (May 14) was "years in the making" according to a recent post from Cole about the follow-up to 2018's KOD. The Off-Season is the first of three albums the rapper teased in a December 2020 Instagram post that caused speculation surrounding his retirement from the rap game. According to the post, the following albums will be titled It's a Boy and The Fall-Off, a play on his first mixtape released in 2007, The Come Up.
Last week, he previewed the album via a new song, "i n t e r l u d e," which he co-produced with T-Minus and T. Parker.
J. Cole Announces His New Album Is Coming After 'Years in the Making'The Off-Season cover art is reminiscent of his freshman mixtape, The Come Up, showing Cole standing in the right corner with a cool-toned, city background. What's different is The Off-Season art shows a basketball hoop set ablaze in the background, potentially a nod to his almost career as a ball player, and remaining consistent with his previous sports-themed album concepts, including The Warm Up, Sideline Story and Friday Night Lights.