• Drake Silver

After 'Years in the Making,' J. Cole announces the release of his new album.

World of Cole, rejoice, for the real, the Ville, has returned. J. Cole, the founder of Dreamville Records and a platinum-selling artist, has just announced the release of his new album, The Off-Season, on May 14.

The lyricist from Fayetteville, North Carolina, revealed the project on social media and shared the cover art. "You remember," he wrote in the caption, "this was years in the making."

Fans and business figures alike flooded Twitter with feedback, retweets, and likes in response to the announcement. On Twitter, several are referencing a now-iconic parody video of a fan reacting to J. Cole dropping music after a long hiatus, which received over 25,000 comments in 20 minutes.

Cole's last album, KOD — an acronym for Kids on Drugs, King Overdosed, and Kill Our Demons — was released three years ago. KOD debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, becoming the artist's fifth album to do so. The Off-Season is the first of three albums the rapper teased in an Instagram post from December 2020, which sparked rumors about his impending retirement from the rap game. The following albums will be named It's a Boy and The Fall-Off, a play on his first mixtape, The Come Up, which was released in 2007.

Cole stands in the right corner with a cool-toned city backdrop on the Off-Season cover art, which is reminiscent of his freshman mixtape, The Come Up. What's different about The Off-Season artwork is that it features a basketball hoop set ablaze in the background, which may be a reference to his almost-career as a ballplayer while still staying consistent with his previous sports-themed album themes, such as The Warm Up, Sideline Tale, and Friday Night Lights.