J. Cole Dropping Surprise Album on Friday

Rapper J. Cole surprised fans Monday with a surprise listening session at New York’s Gramercy Theatre, where he played all 12 tracks from his unannounced upcoming album — and then announced the album immediately afterward. The album will be released on Cole’s Dreamville label via Roc Nation and Interscope.

The album, Cole’s fifth, is called “Kod” and comes out on Friday — the meaning of the title was unclear at press time but according to tweets from writer Brian Miller (via Miss Info), who was at the session, it has three different “subtitles: Kidz on Drugz, King Overdose and Kill Our Demonz.”

The North Carolina-born rapper had announced the show via Twitter Monday afternoon with a message with a purple background saying “NYC. Come through. Couple hours from now. First come first serve,” also stating “No phones, no cameras, no bags, no press list not guest list.” The album announcement followed five hours later.

The tactic is not new to Cole: He stealth-dropped his third album “2014 Forest Hills Drive,” and announced the release of his fourth album, 2016’s “4 Your Eyes Only,” with just an iTunes pre-order page. “Forest Hills” garnered the rapper three of his five total Grammy nominations, with nods for Best Rap Album, Best Rap Performance (for “Apparently”) and Best R&B Performance (for “Planez”).

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