Artistry for artistry sake

J.Cole doesn’t need to go platinum (with no features) again. I don’t think that’s what he wants. I don’t think that what 4 your Eyez Only was made to achieve.

Cole is a rapper in the strictest sense of the word. I think that’s why our generation appreciates him so much. We want our very own Nas to look up to. While it is true we have Kendrick and Drake in the midst of all of that; With Lamar, not enough people have the patience to delve into the murky brilliance of his work; With Drake, too many people are still playing ‘One Dance’ and ‘Controlla’. In other words, we take them for granted. J.Cole finds the middle ground and this comes out clearly in 2014 Forest Hills Drive. Despite the weak reception that it got, there are shrines dedicated to it in every millennials playlist. The pubescent sexual intensity of ‘Wet Dreamz’ resonates with many, ‘Apparently’ was catchy enough for us and ‘G.O.M.D’ was deliciously provocative. But 4 your Eyez Only is an entirely new game.

J.Cole is real on this album. The point of not having features isn’t to show us that 2014 Forest Hills Drive wasn’t a fluke. Why would he want to do that? J.Cole really doesn’t care what the world thinks of him. The internet explodes every time he breathes but he really isn’t on twitter. All Cole intends to do is say what he feels and to do that he needs space to breathe.

The theme of this album is the life and death of a friend. In a broader sense, it’s the bittersweetness of life. Love, resentment, pain, loss and all that comes with. ‘Immortality’ is about doing the things we have to do to keep ourselves and those that we love alive. ‘She’s Mine Pt.1 & ‘Pt.2’ are about the emotions we feel for those we care about despite the places we come from. ‘Foldin Clothes’ is about the joy that comes from the simplicity of a relationship. ‘Neighbors’ is about how far we can go but still be held back by society and it’s beliefs of our ethnic identity.

My work isn’t to interpret music, it’s to appreciate it. That’s what Cole wants you to do. Forget that this is the guy that went double platinum with no features. Listen to the guy that lost one of his closest friends. Listen to the guy that just became a father. That’s the guy that he wants you to listen to.

Oh, and that J.Cole/ Kendrick album is on the way.

Rated 4.2 / 5

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