/  05.04.2021

J. Cole fans, rejoice. The elusive North Carolina native has finally announced a release date for his upcoming project, The Off-Season. On Tuesday (May 4), Cole returned to his Twitter account after a months-long hiatus to reveal that his sixth studio album will arrive next Friday (May 14).

“Is this thing on,” he teased fans.

“Just know this was years in the making,” he wrote in a follow-up tweet. “My new album The Off-Season available everywhere 5/14.”

Along with the album’s release date, Cole also shared the project’s cover art, which shows the 36-year-old rapper standing in front of a burning basketball hoop.

Fans were first alerted to The Off-Season’s impending release through Cole’s fellow Dreamville labelmate, Bas. Last Wednesday (April 28), Bas posted and deleted a message on Instagram that read: “The Off-Season. Pack your bags. In two weeks.” The tease put the album’s release in mid-May, so Bas was spot-on.

Cole first began teasing The Off-Season back in 2018. It was initially billed as a mixtape, with Cole announcing on YouTube, “The Off-Season coming soon… All roads lead to The Fall Off.”

The Off-Season will mark Cole’s first solo studio album since 2018’s KOD. Last year, he also shared three singles, “Snow On Tha Bluff,” “The Climb Back” and “Lion King On Ice.”

In December, Cole revealed that The Off-Season would be followed up by something called “It’s A Boy” and his long-awaited album, The Fall Off. After that, he’s hinted that he may retire.

In a guest post for The Players’ Tribune, Cole said he had a “long-term plan of becoming the best rapper I could possibly be before hanging up my jersey, leaving nothing on the table when all was said and done.”

“The seeds for ​The Fall Off w​ere planted,” he added.

See The Off-Season’s cover art and release date on Twitter below.


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