By: Jai Bartley
Rapper J. Cole released his 4th studio album ‘For Your Eyez Only’ on Dec. 9, 2016. He dives into a story that’s not his own – which is new coming from the artist who usually tells his own story like in previous releases Cole World: The Sideline Story and 2014 Forest Hills Drive.
Having the job to make and produce something to follow up 2014 Forest Hills Drive, the artist had a lot of pressure on him. It’s been two years since the release and he’s telling another story that his fans are ready to hear. With teasers of singles released prior to the album and expected be on it as well. Cole takes us into the story through only ten tracks, the shortest album ever released by the rapper.
While some tracks are related to himself, he begins the album with ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’. The track explains depression and nowhere to turn, it also describes the empty feeling of being lonely and having nothing and the fight to decide whether to live another day or die. It then proceeds to ‘Immortal’, a track that starts to tell the story of the friend that Cole grew up with.
‘Deja Vu’ follows, it’s the most liked track on the album and the track that held #1 on iTunes. Cole uses a sampled beat also used an older song, not from our time: “Swing My Way” from the artists’ K.P. & Envyi’s; although it sounds very similar to Bryson Tiller’s, “Exchange” from his album T R A P S O U L. The tracks that come after are ‘Ville Mentality’ and ‘She’s Mine, Pt. 1’, two of the songs paralleling to J.Cole’s situation about the fame he’s experienced coming from Fayetteville, N.C. and not being successful and making it, what to do next and finding his wife.
The second half of the album is started with ‘Change’, telling us that change is going to come but the only real change comes from inside; as some of this comes from the songs chorus. Later on comes ‘Neighbors’ and ‘She’s Mine, Pt. 2’.
Cole fan, junior Armani Colston, says “‘Neighbors’, is a true story about him purchasing a house in the woods for new artist to come and record..the birth of his daughter and her being the love of his life, for his friend and Cole himself.”
The album closes with ‘4 Your Eyez Only’ which sums up the whole story, it’s J. Cole speaking directly to his friend’s daughter. He tells us all the struggles and life of the friend. The final chapter.
Armani says, “it’s not common now a days–or ever that people make albums about people that they’ve grown up with.. or make albums simply for others.”
While junior Jalonee Clemons believes,”I thought the album told a great story and I feel as if he experimented with some tracks and it sounds very different from what he put out before but I love it, it has a nice vibe.”
While the sound is most definitely different for new J. Cole listeners, and a growing fan base coming in. Armani says, “Probably because people saw 2014 Forest Hills Drive was such a hype… it went double platinum with no features in 25 years so when they heard about For Your Eyez Only they thought they’d check it out.”
True, die hard fans will stick with him through any new sound. With meeting the taste of his fans through multiple albums and conveying a storyline from someone else’s life. Cole has mixed reviews on the likings of this new release even though it debuted as #1 on the charts and has sat at #4 on Billboard’s Top Albums ever since. But, all in all the artist continues to impress.