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The rapper at once evokes Kanye West and ponders the tragic burden of understanding the truth of black suffering: “When the real hold you down, you supposed to drown, right?/ Wait, that don’t sound right.” Jenkins does away with material fantasies, searching instead for spiritual legitimacy.In that moment, rap’s dizzying metaphors and braggadocio couldn’t speak to Cole’s emotional state.The pain he felt predates him; it predates rap altogether. Cole’s face, wet with tears, revealed an exasperation common among black Americans living with the trauma of hypervisible black murder.The events in Ferguson earlier that year, and the lack of substantive change in government since, clearly weighed heavy on his heart.

That didn’t mean they loved the same God: While most white theologians were silent when it came to black liberation, enslaved black Christians’ hope was an essentially subversive one, pushing against the injustice and oppression of the day and toward justice and truth.

Jenkins brings together drugs, truth, love, and God with straightforward honesty and a deep wail.

“I mean I’m only smoking weed because I’m stressing heavy," he says on “1000 Xans.” “All this water in me, I just pray the Lord’ll bless my levies.” is a sparse, grungy, bass-heavy record that allows enough space for Jenkins’s exasperated raps and exhausted vocal sentimentality.

Even though his blues centers on self-love, Jenkins carries the weight of a loveless world. His voice droops during the serenade — “Spread love, spread love, spread love” — as if he knows the message could fall on deaf ears. “When I’m sober I might testify / That this world has fallen out of place,” Rashad belts on “Rope / Rosegold.” “But thank god I found this rope.” Using the materialist gold chain as both a sign of economic prosperity and a method of asphyxiation, he speaks to the futility of wealth when the world is imbalanced from the jump.

For Rashad, art reflects life — he’s said his drug and alcohol addiction almost led to TDE dropping him completely.

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