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On J. Cole’s fifth album, KOD, the North Carolina rapper strikingly steps out with a piece of work a lot less about Jermaine and much more about J. Cole. With an album title that can be interpreted as a triple entendre (Kids On Drugs, King Overdosed, and Kill Our Demons), Cole breathes life into the intricacies and intersections of generational hot topics like celebrity, drug addiction, and mental health. Despite the distinctive shift to a more external worldview on KOD, which contrasts his more introspective previous albums 4 Your Eyez Only and 2014 Forest Hills Drive, the overarching consistency of intimate storytelling and having no features remains. On standout tracks “Kevin’s Heart” and “Photograph,” Cole illustrates with sharp skill and simplicity the struggles of lust and monogamy. Throughout the 12-track project, Cole is adamant about tapping full-throttle into the nuances of life as a famous, black rapper—even if that comes at the cost of providing no comfort for his unfiltered truths. Read more>>> J. Cole performs at 7:30 p.m. at Capital One Arena, 601 F St. NW. $49.50–$149.50. (202) 628-3200. capitalonearena.monumentalsportsnetwork.com. (Jazmin Goodwin)
OH AND ALSO
The Sackler Gallery presents Japan Modern: Photography from the Gloria Katz and Willard Huyck Collection, an exhibition featuring iconic works from Japanese artists in search of a sense of place in their changing country. 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at 1050 Independence Ave. SW. Free.
Music critic and author Jessica Hopper speaks at Politics and Prose about Night Moves, her memoir which chronicles her experience as a DJ and how she came into her own in Chicago. 7 p.m. at 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free.
Union Stage welcomes alt singer-songwriter John Mark McMillan. 7 p.m. at 740 Water St. SW. $22–$42.
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