Words from the Writer
Hello. I’m back again with another music review. This album titled “4 Your Eyez Only” by J.Cole. So just to start, I’m wasn’t really a big J.Cole fan. Not because I’m against his music or anything, mainly because I was ignorant to who he really is as an artist and an individual. The creative process J. Cole goes through, really shows that he eats, sleeps, and breathes music every day. This really made me trip out. The more I researched him, the more I began to understand him on an intellectual level.
Also, if you haven’t seen his 40-min documentary video “Eyez” he put out earlier this month, for real, check it out. It shows his everyday life as a music producer and the process in creating his music. Alright, let’s get into J. Cole.
Jermaine Lamarr Cole (born January 28, 1985), better known by his stage name J. Cole, is an American hip-hop recording artist and record producer. Raised in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Cole initially gained recognition as a rapper following the release of his debut mixtape, The Come Up, in early 2007. Intent on further pursuing a solo career as a rapper, he would go on to release two additional mixtapes after signing to Jay Z’s Roc Nation imprint in 2009.
Self-taught on piano, Cole also acts as a producer alongside his hip-hop career, producing singles for artists such as Kendrick Lamar and Janet Jackson, as well as handling the majority of the production in his own projects. He has also developed other ventures, including Dreamville Records, as well as non-profit organization, the Dreamville Foundation. The Dreamville Foundation isn’t the only non-profit gesture Cole has put forth. In January 2015, Cole decided to house single mothers rent free in his childhood home, 2014 Forest Hills Drive, Fayetteville, North Carolina.
On December 1, 2016, the artwork and a track list for Cole’s fourth album, titled 4 Your Eyez Only were shown on iTunes available for pre-order, with a release date for December 9, 2016. The album 4 Your Eyez Cole addresses his views on the world, his life, fatherhood, black lives, crooked cops, and today’s rap. On December 5, “False Prophets” and “Everybody Dies” were released to iTunes and other streaming services. The album was released on December 9, 2016.
Alright, let’s talk about “4 Your Eyez Only”. The album is an evolutionary step up for J.Cole’s music career. I wouldn’t compare this album to “2014 Forest Hills Drive”. That album has a different overall feel than this album. “4 Your Eyez Only” for me felt much more like a message to someone versus a traditional album.
We saw the same thing in Childish Gambino’s new album “Awaken my Love!” (Which released this month as well). Gambino and Cole share that ‘future generation’ type of message in reference to a child. I can’t confirm if J. Cole has a child or not (maybe you guys can help me out with that). I know a lot of facts about his life as pretty hidden and not well publicized.
The second track ‘Immortal’ really got me going. I felt this song really written and plays off the concept of an artist being immortal. With lyrics like “Real N*ggas don’t die” can be easily interpreted into what I think are some of the best lyrics in this album. The track ‘Deja Vu’ is pretty much a sample form “Bryson Tiller” that he’s rapping over. But I like the fact that the track is called Deja Vu, because everyone knows Bryson Tiller’s song, so it’s like the audience is reliving the beat, and he’s even rapping about stuff I would consider ‘normal J.Cole’. also seems very The album starts to hit on some of his personal real situations and previous memories.
I like the experimentation I heard in tracks like ‘Ville Mentality’. From the violins to the background children speaking about death in a (I guess) casual way. Almost shows how children in some walks of life shape into these very mentally numb human beings, looking for almost any outlet that takes them from the real world.
Now, the track ‘Folding Clothes’……… idk, what happen there (I mean wtf….. I get it, you wanna fold clothes, but really….. really). It was kinda a let down to me. The track “Deja Vu”, I get the concept of reliving ideas and memories, it’s a subtle double meaning for a track. But I’m not sure about re-sampling Bryson Tiller. I mean he could have made this track a lot better. Also, I already know what you guys are about to say, that’s not even Bryson Tiller’s beat. Even so, he popularized it and when we (the audience) hear it, especially in like a one-year time frame, I’m automatically going to associate it to Bryson Tiller.
Overall I really did like this album. I’m always glad to see an artist try to break away from their comfort zone. I really believe that J. Cole can change the industry if he really tries. It’s hard to pinpoint any negative details (Expect folding clothes… I mean for real, wtf) that didn’t deliver a great experience, but I did my best to exploit flaws I heard. I recommend this album to anyone who likes Hip hop, rap, or music with great lyrics. Listen to it right here on Spotify. Also, their new album can be purchased on Amazon.
Like or hate the review I did? Have a question, comment, or concern? Let me know in the comment below. Don’t forget to also check out other music reviews on The EXP Grind.
- A big step up for J.Cole's music career
- The track 'Immortal' is godlike
- The music process was well thoughtout
- Doesn't fully compare to other previous albums
- I'm not sure re-sampling Bryson Tiller was necessary.
- The track 'Folding Clothes'......... idk, what happen there.