J. Cole didn’t fool anyone. In fact, the evidence was hiding in plain sight. When Jermaine released his 2018 album, KOD, and the final song was called “1985 (Intro to ‘The Fall Off’),” it didn’t take fans long to begin speculating that The Fall Off is the name of his next album.
It also didn’t take long for Cole to confirm fans’ guesses as correct. During a listening event for KOD, the Dreamville founder mentioned “1985” is “the intro to some other shit,” but declined to expand. A week after the album was released, the rapper engaged with fans on Twitter and revealed The Fall Off was really a thing when asked by someone what he was doing musically previous to putting together KOD.
“Was working on the fall off,” he replied. “And helping kiLL edward with his album,” he added, referring to his rap-alter ego.
When pressed for further details about on The Fall Off, Cole simply responded, “Workin on it.”
From there, the project seemed to be put on the back burner while Cole toured the country for the second half of 2018 and focused on his label compilation Revenge of the Dreamers III for the first half of 2019.
Cole recently breathed new life into the upcoming album when he teased its release for 2020 during the 2019 Day N Vegas Festival. While it’s still not a precise release date, it’s just enough to induce Birdman hand rubs from faithful followers of the decade-defining Fayetteville, N.C. superstar.
As fans patiently await The Fall Off, XXL compiles all the information available about J. Cole upcoming sixth LP.
Cole Has Been Working on The Fall Off Since 2016
During an interview with Angie Martinez that dropped in May 2018, Cole revealed he’d been working on The Fall Off for nearly two years.
“[The Fall Off] probably won’t come for another year,” he said, around the video's 1:24:35 mark. “I been working on it for like a year and a half.”
“False Prophets” and “Everybody Dies” Were Meant to Be on The Fall Off
During the same interview, Cole also admitted some of the songs he has released in the between time were meant to be on The Fall Off album.
"'False Prophets' was supposed to be on The Fall Off. 'Everybody Dies' and 'False Prophets' that I put out before 4 Your Eyez Only were songs from The Fall Off."
Instead of adding the songs to 4 Your Eyez Only, Cole let the tracks live on as loose singles. They may possibly appear on The Fall Off.
The Album May Contain an Actual Guest Appearance
“Platinum with no features.” What was first worn like a badge of honor for the once-reclusive rapper has seemingly become played out for Cole, which means a guest appearance on the new album might be probable.
“I was loving it,” he said of the slogan in an interview with GQ in March 2019. “I was like, ‘Word up—this is funny as hell.’ But the second or third time, I was like, ‘Alright, it's almost embarrassing now.’ Like, ‘Alright, man, y'all gonna make me put a feature on the album just so this shit can stop.’”
The highly collaborative Revenge of the Dreamers III compilation helped break Cole out of his shell. While there are no guarantees, things seem more promising than ever.
"I don't have any [features] right now that I really want to boast about," he added. "Not saying it's impossible. It's just about getting out of my comfort zone.”
The Fall Off Is Coming in 2020
During his set at the 2019 Day N Night Festival, Cole all but confirmed we’ll be getting the album in 2020 via a hilarious political ad spoof that requests support for the N.C. MC. (It was later posted natively to social media.)
“It seems like shit is all fucked up. The country needs a hero to turn to in these turbulent times. Jermaine Cole is that hero," a narrator says over photos and video of the North Carolina rapper along with corresponding visuals. “A man whose humility knows no bounds. A man whose pen is so potent, each word of his verses reportedly cost $2,000. We need someone with big ideas and bold solutions. An expert in diplomacy. A candidate that can heal the inter-generational war."
The voice-over concluded, "Make your voice heard. Vote The Fall Off for 2020."
With no more specifics being given, that narrows the release date down to a possible 52 days (if he decides to drop the album on a traditional Friday). So, for now, we wait.