J. Cole's been giving us varsity bars since he came into the game, drawing the parallels between his come-up in rap and the NBA. While Cole's often mentioned in the list of rappers that could hoop, the upcoming release of The Off-Season will be a new body of work to bridge the gap between athletes and entertainers. 

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After the announcement that he'll be taking his talents to the Rwandan club in Basketball Africa League, beginning this weekend, the rapper has now graced the cover of SLAM Magazine. Not only has he gone platinum with no features but he's now the first artist to be featured solo on the cover of the magazine. 

"J. Cole stands for everything SLAM stands for—the way basketball and music overlap and inspire greatness in one another,” Chief Content Officer at SLAM Adam Figman said. “This cover was a long time coming, and we’re proud that we were able to make it happen just as Cole was about to release an album influenced by his love of hoops.” 

The rare editorial interview with Cole offers a further glimpse into his new project. He explained the inspiration behind the title of The Off-Season, due out on Friday.

"The Off-Season symbolizes the work that it takes to get to the highest height," he said. "The Off-Season represents the many hours and months and years it took to get to top form.”

Peep the cover below. Are you excited for The Off-Season?

Via Publicist