The Real is Back………..
Ironically I watched the J Cole “Homecoming” documentary for the first time a few days ago. The doc took me back to memories of the short time I lived in South Carolina, and it reminded me of how I kept the Forest Hills Drive EP on repeat when it dropped 2 years ago. After watching the documentary I started back listening to the album and I thought about what J Cole had been up to lately music wise. Normally when artists go MIA, they’re in beast mode working on a new album.
Either I haven’t been paying attention to his work lately, or out of nowhere he dropped another surprise album because before I knew it 4 Your Eyez Only, his 4th LP was all over social media and the internet. The 10 track album was released last week and just like with his former double platinum LP Forest Hills Drive, he decided not to have any features on the project.
There are already hundreds of reviews and theories on people’s thoughts of the new album so I’ll refrain from posting yet another in depth breakdown of each track. Overall I thought it was a solid album and I liked it. I feel like it’s going to be the type of album that will need to marinate in your ears for a while, but each time you listen to it you will gain a better appreciation of the music. The tracks that I liked instantly were Immortal, Deja-Vu (loved the “Swing My Way” sample), She’s Mine Pt. 1, Change, and 4 Your Eyez Only.
This album was more socially conscious in regards to the lyricism. He didn’t shy away from topics that some artists try to tip toe around like mass incarceration of black men, police brutality, and the all too familiar problems that continue to face black communities. And Cole didn’t mind getting a little more emotional and intimate in talking about love (She’s Mine).
In the 40 minute accompanying documentary Eyez there was a scene where he was having a conversation about his music career. He basically acknowledged the fact that rapping is a fleeting career; you might be on top one day and the next day you’re just a distant memory. Cole went on to say that while he is still on top and has a musical influence, he wants to say (in his words) “the realist shit I’ve ever said.”
I remember watching an interview he did with Angie Martinez about 2 years ago where he talked about feeling like he had a responsibility to speak about truth and what’s real in his music. After I saw that interview I became a bigger fan on a more personal level.
A lot of people will compare this album to his previous work but I think you should just look at each project as separate bodies of work. Artists grow, they evolve and experience new things, and the music they write about changes. He still delivered in J Cole fashion but the music is more mature and abstract.
Check out the documentary here. What did ya’ll think about the album?