On December 9th Rapper J.Cole released his fourth studio album “4 Your Eyez Only“, a ten track project that spoke on subjects such as depression, love, drugs, and fatherhood. Since J.cole himself hasn’t revealed what exactly the album was directed to, everyone took that as an opportunity to give their own personal analysis of the album, and what they knew of the story behind this project.
The album starts off at a very mellow tone, him revealing that he’s at a crossroad, and there’s no one to guide him.
Cole did a good job of channelling how he felt, then putting it into his lyrics, making the tropical beat provide an image of the story he was trying to tell.
The album then takes a shift in sound, where it seems Cole goes back in time to tell a story about his childhood.
If you’ve listened to J.Cole’s previous stuff, you’d know he had a somewhat hard life. He didn’t sell drugs or was affiliated with gangs (as said in “Immortal“), but most of his problems took place inside of his home. He made a Immortal a wake-up call to the people who weren’t focusing on his friends dying in the streets.
By track three, I came to a realization about something. Even though the album flowed together lyrically, there wasn’t really a musical shift in the tone. Every song was 100% different in sound than the one before it, (besides She’s Mine pt. 1 & 2), and musical tone isn’t really consistent. That’s not bad thing, especially if the lyrical tone is present.
A funny thing about this project is that the least listened to tracks on the album, were ones that captured most of the album’s story. Those tracks were She’s Mine pt. 1 and 2. In the beginning many believed they were both about J.Cole’s wife and newborn child. But if you listen closer, in She’s Mine pt.2 the point of view he’s rapping from suggests that a baby has already been born, and is now a small child. So it’s not about Cole, It’s someone else story he’s telling.
And that is revealed in the tenth and final track of the album, “4 Your Eyez Only.” I figured J.Cole was rapping in the point of view of his friend James, who was killed when he was twenty two years old (This was revealed in track 6, Change).Track ten was basically a message to James’ now grown-up daughter, to tell her about his life.
People have called 4 Your Eyez Only lame, slow, boring, and too short. And I can understand where those people were coming from. Although I didn’t think the album was boring, I did believe the album had a very mellow tone, and I can admit I was a little disappointed when I saw only 10 ten tracks. But after listening to the entire album 25 times through, “4 your eyez only” didn’t seem like just a 10 track project to me anymore; I felt like I had listened to a ghost tell me his whole life story. In this case, that’s basically what the album was.
This project obviously wasn’t for everyone, and I don’t think J.Cole honestly cared what we thought of his album.
I feel like that’s what makes an artist; One who sees the beauty in their own work, and doesn’t look for other’s approval.
My rating(1-10): 8/10
Favorite track- 4 your eyez only
Full track list:
1. For Whom The Bell Tolls
3. Deja Vu
4. Ville Mentality
5. She’s Mine, Pt. 1
8. Foldin clothes
9. She’s Mine, Pt.2
10. 4 Your Eyez Only
4 Your Eyez Only is available through Apple music, Itunes, Spotify , Google play, and Amazon.