“Aye don’t you see me man

Making my wishes come true

With no genie man

I got the keys to my beamer

With no Beanie Man…”

                                     -J. Cole 2010 XXL Freshman Freestyle

A long way from his Freshman XXL days Cole’s latest single release Middle Child has gone platinum, with of course his favorite accessory: no features. In about 6 weeks Cole has worked this single in a somewhat traditional format that could only work for someone with a strong fanbase. Take a look at the timeline below to see the genius behind this record’s rise through the ranks.  

(January 23rd) After capitalizing on his ROTD3 jam session, Cole teams up with producer T-Minus to release Middle Child into the world. The track literally ate off of streams and some radio play, becoming Cole’s fifth entry in the Billboard Hot 100 (top 10).  

(February 14th) Middle Child goes Gold.

(February 17th) After going Gold 23 days in, Cole inserted Middle Child in his NBA All Star Weekend performance medley. Managing to sound just like the track, Cole had the crowd singing along on the court and in the homes of the 6.8 million viewers.

(February 25th) Capitalizing off of that momentum, Cole released a cryptic and creepy video for Middle Child. The Mez directed video left fans playing and replaying the visual to understand the pairing and all of its hidden metaphors.

(March 6th) Middle Child goes platinum. With no album to call home, no features to take away from the artist’s accomplishment, and no signs of slowing down.

As the writer that has elected to take on the topic of this song at almost every possible turn I can admit that it obviously does have more replay value than I initially stated here. But I will not sell the Dreamville marketing efforts short. The bars are not Cole’s best and I think he was playing it safe, but they worked this track on social like they do a lot of Cole’s projects. Digitally they made it do what it needed to do to secure a strong 2019 release from the Dreamville camp. If that was just a loosey, then I know his 6th studio album is going to GO; pro-tip you never test the waters with your best work.   

Written by: Chay Rodriguez