Give J. Cole’s new album a spin! You won’t regret it
By Daryl Lim
After a relatively quiet 2016 for Jay-Z’s handpicked protégé, J. Cole, the man suddenly comes out to surprise us with an album that went totally hidden from sight until an announcement last week that he would be releasing an album this week, and, man, the whole album is straight fire.
His last album, 2014 Forest Hills Drive, was his first album with absolutely no guest features on the album, and the first rap album to go multiplatinum with no guest features. Jermaine Cole seeks to do it again. As usual, Cole handles production on some songs while getting an assist from his Dreamville in-house production crew on some songs. To say that this album has soul would be an understatement. Add to the fact that the album was recorded at Electric Lady Studios, the house that Jimi Hendrix built, gives this album so much more power behind the rawness of the tracks. It also helps that he built a really strong buzz for this by subliminally sending disses at Kanye West, Drake, and the new rappers who, seemingly, mumble their words and forgot how it is to be able to talk straight.
The album opens with Jermaine Cole singing over a jazz sample on the track “For Whom The Bell Tolls”. On the track, he evokes a strong sense of wanting to get out, grow, and become a stronger man that needs his space to stand up and fight for what he believes in. The next track, “Immortal”, talks about his hardships in life and how he slowly, but surely, rose out of it. On it, he reminisces about how, now as a grown man, he feels invincible yet vulnerable when he sees others around him not having the same success as him. On an album standout, “Déjà Vu” samples Bryson Tiller’s “Exchange” and flips it by talking about how he wants to pursue his dreams instead of getting with a girl who just wants him for his fame. The track also contains a vocal sample of Tupac Shakur, a fact we can’t ignore, but we’ll get to it later. Other tracks include “Ville Mentality,” a track about loyalty and strength of character, “Change” a track that talks about personal growth, “Neighbors” which talks about people who make impressions based on how a person looks like, “Foldin’ Clothes,” and “4 Your Eyez Only,” a track that evokes how awake and aware Tupac Shakur was when he was still alive.
I left out two tracks, “She’s Mine pt. 1” and “She’s Mine pt. 2”. Cole fans got shocked when they found out, by accident, that he got married, and he speaks about it on those tracks while also exposing another surprise: he’s recently become a father to a little girl. The tracks speak about his love for his wife, daughter, and their little budding family.
Once artists drop their fourth album, more often than not, they artistically fall off. In Cole’s case, it marks a growth and improvement that I always saw possible ever since I first heard him on his early mixtape work in 2012. For those who are looking for a new rapper to listen to that evokes feelings, talks about reality, and is socially conscious, 4 Your Eyez Only is a good jumping off point. For Cole fans, this album will only further strengthen your belief in a man who’s definitely one of today’s top complete artists. Give it a spin, and I’m very sure, you won’t regret it at all.
4 Your Eyez Only https://t.co/kDavo02ARh
— J. Cole (@JColeNC) December 9, 2016