With many popular albums released this year using the 'changing of the seasons' to signify different events, J. Cole has chosen to go a separate route and instead show his growth as an artist and as a man with his latest release "4 Your Eyez Only". J. Cole for the second consecutive year has dropped a December album with relatively little to no promotion. But with that being said there are both positives and negatives to J. Cole's 4th studio album.
The Build UP
The build up to J. Cole's "4 Your Eyez Only" started in December with a notable pre-order link on iTunes slated for December 9th. Also a week prior to the albums actual release J. Cole dropped two music videos "Everybody Dies" and "False Prophets". False Prophets has been highly dissected and has gotten much media attention due to the first verse, believed to be about Kanye West's most recent rant as well as his mental state. The second verse is believed to be about Wale and his obsession with having the notoriety that comes with being a great artist, in which Wale created a subtle dis-track called "Groundhog's Day" which was more venting than actual clap back.
THE FIRST LISTEN
In a year filled with music from artists like 21 Savage and coming off the realease of Young Jeez's "Trap Or Die 3", the first listen for me was an unexpected and almost deflated filling especially after the lyrical assult J. Cole showed on "Everybody Dies" and "False Prophets". Even more deflating was the fact that the 2 very songs that were used to help promote the album are not actually on the album at all. This album felt more emotional and more personal, feelings, there's no feelings in rap. This has long since changed especially with the release of Kanye West's "808 and Heartbreaks", which made me not count out the album without atleast giving it a second listen.
THN I PRESSED REPEAT
J. Cole has often balenced this line between going over people's heads and creating that catchy radio hit that would excite Jay-Z, this album seems to throw away that battle all together. The first listen through felt really personal, but thinking back about it, isn't that what the world has become now? The creation of Instagram, SnapChat, Twitter, and FaceBook, has made the celebrity let their fans in more and see and feel the experince of their life's. So this second time around I realized how personal this album felt and that he is showing his growth as an artist and growth as a man. Whether that's the love that comes with having your first child on the track "She's Mine Pt.2" or the sybolization of doing a simple task to take the workload off of a lover on the track"Foldin Clothes". The album shows a definite insight into J. Cole's life and recent major events that have occured from getting married to having a child. The title track "4 Your Eyez Only" is the storyteller that fans have grown accustom to and grown to love similar to "03 Adolescence" from J. Cole's last album 2014 Forest Hill Drive. J. Cole shows his versitility as he tells the story of a friend caught in the system that is having a conversation with both his friend "J. Cole" and his Daughter. This is one of the best and most personal tracks on the album and truly adds to the album. The second album proved to be worth the repeat and adds to the greatest of his album catalog.
All in all this is a J. Cole album. Not alot of radio hits. Something that you can cruise to. Something you can vibe to. I think this is a timeless album that won't get old, but is more like a timecapsule back to the first time you heard the album. So if you heard the album once, I challenge you to sit down, chill, and press play. Who knows what you may see may be 4 Your Eyez Only.