You can't blame the fans for being optimistic. The rumor mill works overtime when it comes to surprise releases, and all eyes have recently been poring unblinkingly at J. Cole, who has been sitting on The Fall Off for the entire year. Yesterday, a renegade lead indicating that Cole would be dropping his anticipated project today had social media buzzing, to the point where it was impossible to deny the momentum the rumor had sparked. Even Dreamville's own J.I.D got in on the fun, mysteriously imploring an unnamed figure to "drop da album." 

Unfortunately, at the stroke of midnight, there was nary a sign of a new J. Cole album to be found. Though many of us knew in our heart of hearts that it was likely a red herring, the suspenseful lead-up was still fun while it lasted. What wasn't, however, was the wounded pride of those who had been duped -- a number that included many ardent Cole fans eager to catch the K.O.D. follow-up. And when it failed to manifest as expected, the crestfallen reactions that ensued were admittedly amusing.

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Frustrating though these wild-goose chases may be when they come up empty, it remains an undeniably exciting time nonetheless -- not often seen in an era where albums are announced and end up landing in a matter of days. And even though J. Cole's Fall Off is still sitting in the vault, at least for now, it should be noted that December 9th remains a major milestone for the beloved lyricist. Lest we forget, it marks the anniversary dates for both 2014 Forest Hills Drive and 4 Your Eyez Only, which turned six and four respectively. Perhaps those still licking their wounds oughta turn to one of his existing works for further consolation.

Did you think The Fall Off was going to be dropping today? There's still time -- what do you expect from Cole's forthcoming album?