23 Days

J. Cole released his first single for 2019 amidst the dying fan fare of his Revenge of the Dreamers III recording sessions in Atlanta, Georgia. And 23 days after the display of golden tickets on social media that single, “Middle Child” has gone certified Gold.

Now regardless of how the track was received by hip hop heads across the United States one thing is clear. “Middle Child” is a hit. After debuting on the Billboard Hot 100 charts at the number 4 spot, the anthem caused immediate speculation on who Cole was referring to on the T-Minus produced track. We noted on our #PRESSPLAY Review that something was a little spicy about the song, and after multiple listens there are a few reasons outside of the #ROTD3 hype that could take credit for the tracks success.

The first being, there are more than a few bars in the record. And Cole’s cadence, although guilty of choking the rhythm of the beat at times, is needed to ensure that his bars hit the listener how they are supposed to.

“Too many niggas in cycle of jail

Spending they birthdays inside of a cell

We coming from a long bloodline of trauma

We raised by our mamas, Lord we gotta heal

We hurting our sisters, the babies as well

We killing our brothers, they poisoned the well

Distorted self image, we set up to fail

I’ma make sure that the real gon’ prevail”

And what is hitting?

The second thing on the list: JABS. Although in the family of indirect and subliminal. Cole did not deliver what one would think of when they hear:

“I’m countin’ my bullets, I’m loadin’ my clips

I’m writin’ down names, I’m makin’ a list

I’m checkin’ it twice and I’m gettin’ ’em hit”


However, The Dreamville head is definitely coming for someone when he says:


“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 nigga slid in my lane”


We’ll call them jabs because the lines could be talking about absolutely anyone with a sneaker line or clout to chase. However, the undefeated internet has taken it upon itself to pinpoint Cole’s target(s). Which will give is the 3rd contributing factor to Middle Child’s swift Gold certification.  

According to the world wide web Cole is indirectly addressing the leaders over at G.O.O.D. Music: Founder Kanye West and President Pusha T. Both of whom had a year long beef on and off wax with someone Cole mentioned favorably (and directly) in Middle Child: Drake.

The Math

Now, The RIAA recognizes the following Digital Single Award tiers:

Gold – 500,000 Units.

Platinum – 1,000,000 Units Multi-Platinum – 2,000,000 Units (increments of 1,000,000 thereafter) Diamond – 10,000,000 Units (increments of 1,000,000 thereafter)

**Each permanent digital download counts as 1 Unit for certification purposes. With 150 on-demand audio and/or video streams will count as 1 Unit for certification purposes.

If we can agree that Cole is no novice to internet marketing when it comes to rolling out his music, ROTD3 and Willy Wonka aside, the man will give warning to his fanbase with a quick overhaul of his IG. Summing up the fact that he is a talented wordsmith, indirectly commented on what was the biggest back and forth “beef” in hip hop within the last 5 years, and name dropped the likes of mega artists Drake and Jay Z. That SCREAMS gold and I would not be surprised if platinum comes into the conversation in a few weeks.

However, the North Carolina rapper was reported dropping new music featuring his Dreamville artists over NBA All Star weekend in Charlotte. So it feels safe to say that Middle Child will not be his only entry on the charts this quarter. Apparently 2019 really is gon be a tough year for the haters.

Written by: Chay Rodriguez