It's Monday and although I could've shared my thoughts on J-Cole's new album "4 Your Eyez Only" on Friday when it dropped - I decided to wait and let it sit with me for a moment before I shared my thoughts.
Before I get started - I love J. Cole - ok, we clear on that.. cool.. continue.
I won't act as though I am one of those OG's that preach about needing to hear real hip-hop and I'm tired of the "dopehead" music that is out now... (well not in this post anyway). I too like my dosage of ratchet-mumble music. But there are some artist that understands the need to have BALANCE and I look for that balance from the artists such as J.Cole, Kendrick Lamar, and Big K.R.I.T. to name a few.
Immediately after my first listening I wasn't ready for the ride J. Cole was taking his listener. As I should have known better than to think I was going to be able to shuffle through Cole album. I knew I needed a quiet moment in time to dissect this album and listen to the message that's always lost between the music.
Lord, Lord—The bells getting loud, ain't nowhere to hideGot nowhere to go, put away my prideTired of feeling low even when I'm highAin't no way to live, do I wanna die?I don't know, I don't knowBells getting loud, ain't nowhere to hideGot nowhere to go, put away my prideTired of feeling low even when I'm highAin't no way to live, do I wanna die?I don't know, I don't know -
While not quit done with the ways of streets Cole finds his soulmate in Deja Vu and She's Mine Part 1.
I know you were made for me but
Darling don't you wait for meCause I can see the promise landBut I can't do no promisingI know you were made for me butDarling don't you wait for meCause I can see the promise landBut I can't do no promising [Deja Vu]
I must say the next track - Change - stole my heart. Directly and indirectly understanding the battle some have within themselves with Good and Evil.
Yeah, my intuition is telling me there'll be better days
I sit in silence and find whenever I meditateMy fears alleviate, my tears evaporateMy faith don't deviate, ideas don't have a dateBut see I'm growing and getting stronger with every breathBringing me closer to Heaven's doors with every stepAs we speak I'm at peace, no longer scared to dieMost niggas don't believe in God and so they terrifiedIt's either that or they be fearing they gon' go to HellAsking the father for forgiveness—God, I'm overwhelmed
Halfway through the album Cole paints a beautiful portrait of Life, Death, Religion, Love, and Friendship. The happy-new-dad even opens up about his fears as a new father in the track, She's Mine, Pt. 2.
(Please God, I want to go to Heaven) - [Change]
Am I worthy of this gift
Am I strong enough to lift, into a place that I can seeSomeone more important than me?Am I worthy of this gift? (Am I worthy of this gift?) [She's Mine, Pt.2]
Now somewhere between track 8 and 10 I realize that J. Cole wasn't just giving us a glimpse at his story but of a friend. A friend of Cole's who must have died in the streets and left behind a daughter. He breaks this all down in the last track "4 Your Eyez Only".
"Nigga what you talking 'bout? Fuck is you getting at?"
He said, "Listen, I got no time to dive into descriptionsBut I've been having premonitionsJust call it visions from the other sideI got a feeling I won't see tomorrowLike the time I'm living on is borrowedWith that said, the only thing I'm proud to say, I was a fatherWrite my story down and if I passGo play it for my daughter when she ready"And so I'm leaving you this record for your eyes only [4 Your Eyez Only]