On Wednesday (April 18), J. Cole caused a frenzy on social media when he liberated the cover art for his fifth studio album, KOD. Along with the art, Cole World unveiled the track list for his hotly anticipated album, due Friday. The 12-track effort certainly raised eyebrows in the hip-hop world because not only is the album saddled with three different acronyms based off the title — Kids on Drugs, King Overdose and Kill Our Demons — but for the first time since his 2013 sophomore album Born Sinner, Cole nabbed a feature by an artist named kiLL Edward.
KiLL Edward is the sole feature and appears on two tracks: “The Cut Off” and “FRIENDS.” While fans were baffled by Cole’s decision to curtail his streak of going “platinum with no features,” it appears that he duped us all. On Monday, a new artist page was created on SoundCloud under the moniker kiLL Edward with one track. Titled “Tidal Wave (Just a Reference),” kiLL Edward’s voice eerily sounds like that of — you guessed it — J. Cole. To further cement proof that kiLL Edward is an alias for Cole, a user on Twitter sped up Edward’s vocals, and the recording proved to be that of the Roc Nation signee.
The 1:47 song finds J. Cole singing with a distorted voice for a short time before finally letting the beat play on through. “I’ve been wantin’ you since we were little/ Now we’re full grown and you here/ Do you have time just a little?/ I can make it worth your while,” he croons.
Not only does kiLL Edward already have an artist profile on Genius, but his lyrics to “Tidal Wave” have been annotated by listeners. On his artist page, it reads, “KiLL edward, the only feature on J. Cole’s 2018 studio album, is believed to be Cole’s alter ego.” Edward’s “Tidal Wave” has also caused a ripple on streaming platforms, as the track can now be found on Apple Music, Spotify and other services. The song artwork for the record features a young boy wearing a blue-striped Polo. Also, on Apple Music, the record is distributed under “Kill His Ways,” which plays off the triple-entrendre album title.
This wouldn’t be the first time an artist opted to create an alter-ego. Two months after his untimely death in 1996, Tupac went under the moniker of Makaveli for his 12-song opus Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory. In 2005, Mary J. Blige introduced the world to her alter-ego Brook Lynn on her seventh album The Breakthrough. Fortunately, fans will have to wait only two days to know what kiLL Edward’s role is on KOD.
Billboard reached out to Dreamville and Roc Nation for comment.
— Kyle Gardner (@kylegardner124) April 18, 2018