J Cole’s new album 4 your eyez only was promoted to be a game changer. Well, that is what it felt like after he released the fire tracks of ‘False Prophets and “everybody dies’. But they are not even on the album!!!!! This omission has meant the album that promised us beef, ended up being vegan. Vegan is still good for you. Some might even say better for you. However, if I went to a steak house expecting a Rib Eye and they gave me a salad instead- No doubt, I am going to be disappointed.
The album is more of a story about society, relationships and manhood than a continuous attack of hits at other rappers. As we said some would say this is actually better than ‘beef’. There are some standout tracks such as ‘neighbors’. However, Cole is often put in the section of ‘conscious rappers’; however, his over use of the N-word is rarely for a potent reason. Even the track ‘real N*ggas don’t die lacks substance.
The concept of the ‘real n*gga’ only perpetuates a false narrative of limited ‘blackness’ and masculinity. Cole’s social commentary is usually on point but sometimes his commentary on the Black experience seems rooted in him validating his own blackness due to his biracial heritage. However, he is able to use his mixed heritage to critically access the inequality in society and question what should be done.
‘Sometimes I think this segregation would’ve done us better
Although I know that means I would never be brought into this world
‘cuz my daddy was so thrilled when he found him a white girl to take back to Jonesborough with
‘lil Zach and Cole World barely one years old, now it’s thirty years later making sure the story’s told’ 4 Your Eyez Only
Here’s our full review- which turns in to a J Cole Vs Kendrick Debate!
Fans have been circulating this fan theory on the whole album
Personally, I think Cole’s album was influenced by the style of Kendrick’s To Pimp A Butterly. Not in a musical or lyrical way. But simply attempting to tell a continuous story. The difference is Kendrick’s story was wrapped around a fictional interview with Tupac. So that gave it a strong narrative. Whereas J Cole’s previous album did not need such a style- each track stood out alone. It was an album for ‘shuffle’; whereas Kendrick’s was an album best played from start to finish.
With that said J Cole and Kendrick are both needed in Hip Hop- especially with the mumble rapper epidemic. Click here for our review of To Pimp A Butterly
If you like this check out our collection of spoken word:
- Saul Williams- Coded Language
- Buju Banton- How Long
- Lauryn Hill- Motive and Thoughts
- Dana Gimore- Woman… Wife… Friend..
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