Top 5 Songs from J. Cole’s ‘4 Your Eyez Only’ [ALBUM REVIEW]
Last week, J. Cole fans rejoiced as they noticed a J. Cole “pre-order” announcement surface on iTunes. Today, fans celebrate as the North Carolina rhymer unveils his fourth studio LP, 4 Your Eyez Only.
A rapper’s rapper, J. Cole uses his fourth album to address many socio-political issues plaguing the country. From racism and civil rights to police brutality and mass incarceration, the Roc Nation artist forces his fans to think and scratch beyond the surface to tackle problems affecting various communities worldwide.
While the project discusses some very public topics, it also allows fans to get up close and personal with J. Cole’s private life as they’re officially introduced to his new born daughter and told stories about his childhood. The 10-track album also serves as a portal into the heartbreak the rapper has experienced from the loss of his friend, James McMillian, Jr.
Conscious and insightful, check out the top five song’s from J. Cole’s latest LP.
“4 Your Eyez Only”
As the 10th and final chapter to Cole’s latest project, 4 Your Eyez Only is a message to the daughter of James McMillian, Jr., J. Cole’s now deceased childhood friend, recounting his life so she can always have an image of her father. While the near nine-minute track talks to a little McMillian, it also serves as a message to the North Carolina rapper’s new born daughter – explaining the woes of the world.
“I dedicate these words to you and all the other children / Affected by the mass incarceration in this nation / That sent your pops to prison when he needed education. Sometimes I think this segregation would’ve done us better / Although I know that means that I would never / Be brought into this world / ‘Cause my daddy was so thrilled/When he found him a white girl,” he raps.
Cole’s final message sums up the topics of his album by addressing segregation, police brutality, racism, sex, religion and a plethora of other social issues, but as said in the song, this story comes at a cost.
“I got a feeling I won’t see tomorrow / Like the time I’m living on is borrowed / With that said, the only thing I’m proud to say I was a father / Write my story down and if I pass, go play it for my daughter when she ready,” he spits.
Frustrated with racial stereotypes and the notion that a Black man can’t be rich unless they’re “selling dope” or a “platinum star,” Cole gets personal about his relationship with fame and the reasons why he can live without it.
“F— the fame and the fortune — well, maybe not the fortune / But one thing is for sure though, the fame is exhaustin’ / That’s why I moved away, I needed privacy / Surrounded by the trees and Ivy League,” he rhymes.
Able to tell that his “neighbors” are un-phased by the material possessions of a Black man, Cole lets his fans know that it doesn’t matter if “your crib sit on a lake” because you’re destined “for a Trayvon kinda fate…even when your plaques hang on a wall; even when the president jam your tape.”
An ode to his wife, Melissa Heholt, and her ability to bare their new born daughter, Jermaine Lamarr Cole tells the love of his life how much she means to him, so much so that he’ll even fold her clothes.
And in a world where doing the wrong thing seems to be the “in” things, Cole would rather do the right thing because it feels so much better. “It’s the simple things,” he says.
He then adds, “If I can make life easier, the way you do mine / Save you some time, alleviate a bit of stress from your mind / Help you relax, let you recline babe / Then I should do it, cause Heaven only knows / How much you have done that for me.”
“For Whom the Bell Tolls”
Reflective of Ernest Hemingway’s 1940 novel, “For Whom the Bell Tolls” serves as the intro to J. Cole’s fourth studio album. The track describes his feelings about the world and what he sees around him.
“I’m searching and praying and hoping for something
I know I’m gon’ see it, I know that it’s coming/
Lord, Lord—/But what do you do when there’s no place to turn?/I have no one, I’m lonely, my bridges have burnt down.”
Heartbroken, lonely and tired, all Cole knows is he sees “the rain pouring down” and “the bells getting loud.” Pushed to the possible point of suicide, J. Coles asks, “Do I wanna die? I don’t know.”
“She’s Mine, Pt. 1/Pt.2″
A personal message to his wife and daughter, J. Cole penned this two-part ballad for the woman who made him “fall in love for the first time” and the girl that caused him to shed “tears of joy I think filled up the room.”
Here, he opens up about the people “more important” than him, and the questions he has about being strong enough to carry them “into a place strong enough that [he] can see.” He’s never felt so alive, and he wants everyone, including his daughter, to know it.