The Off-Season is J. Cole’s sixth studio album and is his first release of 2021.
On August 7, 2018, J. Cole released a freestyle titled “Album of the Year.” This is the LP’s lead single and its release coincided with the tape’s announcement. In both the SoundCloud and music video description, Cole writes:
The Off Season coming soon… All roads lead to The Fall Off
The beginning of the “Album of the Year” music video references The Off-Season:
The cover art for “Album of the Year” contains additional references to The Off-Season, showing two time-frames, each 45 minutes in length, possibly referencing the album’s runtime.
Cole continued to tease the album on November 9, 2018, when he created a Spotify playlist called “Where the fuck is The Off Season,” which included many of his 2018 features and a few solo songs.
On December 29, 2020, Cole reignited the desire for The Off-Season when he posted a schedule of what he deemed “The Fall Off Era.” The calendar begins with two completed events, Cole’s famous feature run and Revenge of the Dreamers III, and they are followed by The Off-Season.
After the album’s imminent release, the calendar lists (seemingly) the birth of Cole’s third son and the release of The Fall Off.
On April 28, Bas made an Instagram post alleging that Cole had completed The Off-Season and that it would be released in “two weeks” (he later deleted the post). Two days later, Cole posted on his Instagram story that he had “just rode through the city to The Off-Season,” both proclaiming his excitement for its release and confirming the legitimacy of Bas’ post.
On May 4, 2021, Cole revealed the release date and artwork for The Off-Season.
Just know this was years in the making.
My new album The Off-Season available everywhere 5/14 pic.twitter.com/aBw4po8fvx
— J. Cole (@JColeNC) May 4, 2021