Hidden Meanings Behind J. Cole’s ‘Middle Child’ Video Explained


– [Narrator] J. Cole released the much-anticipated music video to his song, “Middle Child.” It was directed by Mez, and Scott Lazer was the creative director. Lazer also directed a
number of Cole’s videos including “ATM,” “Kevin’s
Heart,” “4 Your Eyez Only,” and his documentary and concert series, “Forest Hills Drive Homecoming.” But what sets this project apart is how well the visuals
complement the overall message of his lyrics. The video shows that while
Cole is continuously overlooked in the music industry, the
rapper is still a quiet but deadly hunter. Here’s a breakdown of all the
things you might have missed in J. Cole’s newest video. ♪ I’m all in my bag, this hard as it get ♪ – Throughout most of the video, J. Cole is in the middle of the screen while everything is happening around him. Sort of like how kids
describe their experiences being a middle child in their family. The video also wastes little time highlighting J. Cole’s targets. The scene opens with Cole
in the center of the screen with a silhouetted crowd behind him. When the beat drops, affluent figures on the
red carpet celebrate but aren’t paying any
attention to Cole’s presence. The red-carpet event is also in the woods. It’s the first visual
hint of the hunting motif that comes up throughout the entire video. When the lights fade
and the scene changes, the lively crowd now
lies dead in the morgue. The red carpet has been
replaced with red dirt, which also covers the
soles of the dead’s shoes. The red bottoms remind viewers of the ever-popular
high-end Louboutin shoes that have quickly become a status symbol. But the fact that the
soles are made from dirt make the wearer seem fake and ingenuine. The ironic tattoo that reads “loyalty” on the female cadaver’s ankle also brings his message forward. But why this particular imagery? – What was the reason?
– I have a reason. – What was the reason?
– I have a reason. – What was the reason?!
– I just explained! – [Narrator] Well, when
it comes to award shows, J. Cole has notoriously been snubbed. The artist has been up
for a music-related award 43 times since 2012 and only won six of them.
For the Grammys specifically, the artist has been nominated seven times and hasn’t won once! He’s been beat out by
Childish Gambino, Ella Mai, Chance The Rapper, Kendrick
Lamar, and The Weeknd. But despite this, Cole has
been and still is killing it. The artist, who also produces
almost all of his records, went certified platinum with no features with his 2014 album “Forest Hills Drive.” His albums “Cole World,” “Born
Sinner,” “4 Your Eyez Only,” and “KOD” also went platinum. Cole continues riding around in the familiar red dirt
backwoods in a Bentley. Covering the very expensive vehicle in mud without a care in the world. We get a peek into his hunting lodge with three human heads on
display over a fireplace. The plaques under the heads
read “Your Favorite Rapper,” “This Could Be You,”
and “Ask For A Feature.” While the messages are pretty generic and could fit a number
of overrated artists, people on Twitter are
giving their best guesses. My guess would have to be Lil Pump for the artist in the middle. Given the colorful hair and
Cole and Pump’s past beef. Last year, fans thought
Cole was calling out Pump in his “KOD” track “1985,” and tensions were high. Yes, the beef was squashed, but the “This Could Be You” plaque could be a warning. Just a theory. Another theory is that the colorful hair just represents new age
rappers as a monolith. Cole’s made it clear in his song that he’s apparently
over any personal beefs. ♪ But I’d never beef with
a n—- for nothin’ ♪ ♪ If I smoke a rapper,
it’s gon’ be legit ♪ – The lyrics overtly
reveal the meaning behind the “Middle Child” song title. The artist feels that he
rests between two ages of rap: old school and new school and is OK with acting as
a bridge between them. ♪ I’m dead in the middle
of two generations ♪ ♪ I’m little bro and big bro all at once ♪ – He acknowledges that he learned a lot from the legends before him and is looking to help the
next wave of real artists. And the theme that sticks
out in this part of the video is what it means to be real. We’ve switched scenes from the
backwoods to the supermarket, a play on the hunters versus the buyers. The buyers here are the
people who weren’t out there hunting for their success but passively relying on
the innovation of others. Like this woman in camouflage who’s literally shopping for the juice. The supermarket environment
is also interesting in that it is the complete opposite of the grungy outdoor
environment we just saw. Cole literally rolls
past and props himself next to the cleaning product aisle. Notice again that Cole isn’t
walking around the supermarket but is either sitting in the shopping cart or propped up against the shelves. His art is what other
artists are trying to cop for themselves. Another theme worth
noting is how black women are portrayed throughout this video. Cole has a powerful, young,
all-female marching band setting the pace and the
beat for the whole song. The idea of setting the pace is continued with the shocking end to the video. A white woman notices a
black woman’s babyhairs and is immediately seen shopping
for a black woman’s face in the grocery store. The black face had a red “special”
sticker on the packaging. J. Cole said it best: ♪ Money in your palm don’t make you real ♪ – The video shows the
dangers of appropriation. How features and styles of
black women are only celebrated when they aren’t on black women. Do you think the heads
on the mantles were shots at specific artists? Do you think Cole is way
overdue for a Grammy? Let us know in the comments below and don’t forget to subscribe.

100 thoughts on “Hidden Meanings Behind J. Cole’s ‘Middle Child’ Video Explained

  1. Yeah. We never had a hero outside Jordan. So we're not used to fairy tales. We feel obligated to keep it ๐Ÿ’ฏ.

  2. He get treated the way he do because he doesnt kiss ass and he's nit tryin to be like the rest

  3. Give a Key to his city he'll surpass a grammy๐Ÿค”๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ’ฏ

  4. it's cool cuz when its all said and done J.Cole get a B.E.T icon award๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ

  5. Cole speaks truth and he has his own style and produces his own shit…..the Grammys want him to be like everybody else and what not but hes not….hes been killing the game and they cant stand it….that's why they havent gave him no Grammy yet BUT one

  6. I am a woman of a particular age who stands on the line of old school and new school. There is no versus for me it's about the two entities respecting, learning, and receiving encouragement from one another which describes as well promoting progress. I am so thankful and proud of Mr. Cole's ability to middle his way through all the crap and come clean out on the other side. There is proven scientific facts that everyone needs & wants validation and confirmation for a life lived However in this dog eat dog world I've learned that sometimes you don't get that and the best acknowledgement of one's efforts has to come from oneself. It's about being thankful, patting yourself on the back, keeping it moving and quietly but graciously exhibit humility just like Mr. Cole's is doing well. I'm proud of you keep doing what you're doing Mr. Cole.โš“โœ๏ธ๐Ÿค—

  7. Idk who thought these were โ€œhiddenโ€, yโ€™all are reaching in most of them and creating your own interpretation of the actual hidden meaning. This video explanation took an L

  8. 80% of Comments = Grammys
    10% of Comments = J Cole is the realist
    10% of Comments = Other

  9. Dis dude deserve a Grammy…nicki deserve a Grammy…..Joyner Lucas deserve a Grammy……..Grammy is nothing bcoz we kwn dere grand is solid with talents barzzzzzzzzzz

  10. needs a Grammy๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

  11. Quite the empire boys quite the empire they laugh in Heaven at the Satanist little crickets wanna take over Heaven with Tesla toys NO SECRETS

  12. Cole is the real deal guys ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿฟ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿฟ

  13. Jcool he in some other grammy can never calibrate his talent… His rap is solid not some chip word shit. He won ur heart not the grammy

  14. What's meant for him will never miss him and what misses him was never meant him

  15. mannnnnnnn give that man a Grammy.
    I been with the shit since his mixtapes.

  16. No hes going to kill targeted rappers. For example at the start of his song he said how hes countin the bullets and loading then to magazines. Then you can tell hes in the red carpet of the music award where you see kendrick lamar hugging a women and everyone clapping. also only the people that were being acknowledged were appear dead in the next sene. Not only that, but he actually said other targets name in the supermarket sene. He also says how hes making a list writing down names and checking it twice right after when he said hes counting bullets and loading them. Thats my opinion to middle child

  17. Outstanding analysis of one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite artists! Thank you! And yes! He is WAAAAAYYY overdue for a Grammy and other awards! He is a G.O.A.T.! ๐Ÿ’ฏ๐Ÿ’ฏ๐Ÿ’ฏโ€ผ๏ธ

  18. Winning a Grammy is basically like winning a popularity contest. This dude already has everyone's respect which is worth way more if you ask me.

  19. The faces in the meat packs was deep because not only do weave and lacefront sell in the near future girls and gays can buy a face…you can look like Kim one day and Meagan the next…๐Ÿค‘๐Ÿค”

  20. The woods part is wrong ๐Ÿ˜ด supposed to resemble the bohemian grove … thats why lt later represents a morgue because sacrificial ceremonies…

  21. Absolutely beautiful respectful and tasteful video Insider. Good job. Respect for j Cole for over a decade. We heard him before he blew up. He speaks writes and raps from his soul. INTUTION at its finest

  22. When I first saw the video I knew exactly what the last two scenes meant ๐Ÿ˜‰

  23. Oh i hope even sheep see this demons, among us you know we knew but often are nessage to prepare peopke but i want hope ib good intebtiob is all shit expkainef Thank but they are allowed by god as angel om when satan came to me i was stopping god gifts and his dreams eith drugs but yes i died at 26net god he said me i was here to be sent bavk from a impossible death i died tyred of demons i married all adicts all wicked like my mom a adict priestess i knew languages scriptures and so i don t age and others still see my angelic face but i see what i became now i trashed all i m awake but no more sedable ruler of this earth too i stopped desire flesh stopped tattoing i m a fallen i was a angel i in this path choose rebellion cause when i eacape her cult i was angry for rapes abuse and before help me stop addiction we married they all h z ad a coma was my piwer to stop them stopy addictions when i understand i qas myself i killed mysrlf i was sent back god said was not my fault i m a levi ok i m a jew we are his rave and even in her cult i was a healer i always prayed i was saved now a month ago god did his last move me and my daugther woke satan said i was not only your gifts now are ours is our time i was angry cause after years os awakin peole their heart were cold i tfied open their eyes ufo are fallen is scriot we jew never deny lilith but when i was possesed i let these people profit of me i was in entrainteinment one of that wonderful girls who even a blind see are angel i eas not like now humble with not make up not wishin flesh but came back i am the baby who always prayed again but he played with a chosen my third husband too i m leaving he lost all second too first died this broke me there i wrnt on tattoun ghiza his stars the mark lilith pillars me i slept onlybin osiris position and i went to din amorth he said he can t do anything cause i was not totally human i knew i m adopted and human don have a third eue andcthese gifts they don t dream this at four so i took mom pisition now i throw all away and this rage free me i left toxic peile speakin me of luviger askin me of him alwaysxwantin i explainef his thing not god things so i left i ll seevthis nigth i strat be less angry stop so this month was a god test i listened and saw i must listen you take care of my cause my figth will be in ladt days i instead keptvhelping these stop god bless you shalom we jew akways fall on demon you christian read from childhood a teistef book so i know it well as demonology thank to do this i was a lilith used my beauty to destroy men and kill children but when god sent me love and i was under influences i raged so much he died i understand now is rhird year of tribulation as matthew said storm fruit at the seize of now we say ball baseball ball so it is others are tired and did not struggled as i from cruising the world to living on cement so young talentfull but left handed and my proudness became from all preists abusedcbe when at six i knew jesus said to peter no popes or priest i read apocrify too so left handed Jesi su a demon oh god qhen i never stop praying went at tempke in street in church without eating jesus body sorry i can t betray god i met god in my death so inknow arectwo years jesus is coming wait vatican the bride fall you see where jesus is trapped even gifted even with gifts bloodline you can be trapped but i was shocked i woje in osiris pise i said stop i stopped don t sleeping with this afict he still don t see god i did all in four years i work for god not for human sorry i saved many but some Arw not ready and never will

  24. The greatest Rappers back then never Won a Grammy award. So his basically living that same route. 2007-2019 his with us and that what mattersโค

  25. I'ma make sure you get a Grammy brother when I take shots at Vlad if he ever runs subliminals truce?

  26. I'ma make sure you know how the most high and he will make him so Shalom keep pushing man your imagery is dope I'll pray for your success brother โœŠ๐Ÿพ

  27. i love kendrick and j cole i believe these are the only real rappers but cole is too underrated and fact is he is one of the greatest or if not the greatest check the guys that beat him to the grammies except kendrick none challenges him

  28. I wonder what the response would be if this were a white woman speaking on a black woman ๐Ÿง

  29. Cole dont care bout some grammy : Did you forget Fire Squad Here comes lilโ€™ olโ€™ Jermaine

    With every ounce of strength in his veins

    To snatch the crown from whoever yโ€™all think has it

    But rather than place it on his head as soon as he grabs it

    Poof, boom, paow, itโ€™s like magic

    With a flash and a BANG the crown disintegrates

    And falls to the Earth from which it came

    Itโ€™s done
    While everybody is busy in claiming that they are the โ€œking of this rap game,โ€ J.Cole takes the crown, not to hold onto it, but to end the debate forever.

    Cole doesnโ€™t think the crown is something of power. He thinks itโ€™s a corrupting vice in the modern day rap game, something you try to boost your own ego with. The destruction of the crown symbolizes the end of grandstanding in rap and respect for the work of other artists.

  30. WAAAAYYYYY OVERDUE FOR ONE! ANYHOW THE GRAMMYโ€™s DONT MAKE HIM REAL!. HE WAS ALREADY MADE REAL!!!

  31. I'm sorry but tell me this is it right for a a Latina two were edges it's just a question ๐Ÿค”

  32. The Head In The Hunting Lodge In The Middle That Says This Can BE You Is In The Middle, Since The Song Is Named Middle Child, And The Thing Says This Can Be You It Must Mean, You Could Be A Middle Child. …. The one that says your favorite rapper which is first head on the wall so it must mean that they act like they were broke but their not and they grew up better since the little kids mostly get treated better(Not Always). And The Last One On The Wall Says Ask For A Feature Means That They Are Not Famous Because Their raps were old and they grew up in the older generation, so they must ask for a feature to to become famous, Video Explained. (Sorta) (Age Order)

  33. What was the reason what was the reason what was the reason
    WHAT WAS THRE REASON!!!!!!!
    ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

  34. Yes def yes cole well deserve it. Last of the mc 's that to me take his music on a conscious an subconsciously spiritual level I just want to say don't let them cheese awards effect your genuine powerful afrocentricousity of life an style much love 1love an peace

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