Ill beats. Strong lyrical content. No features. Notice something about these statements? Well, if you’ve listened to J. Cole’s, “4 Your Eyez Only,” then you’d know that they describe the album perfectly. The ten track release is perhaps some of Cole’s best work, and it definitely continues his current path to immortality.
His fourth studio is a follow-up to the critically acclaimed, “2014 Forest Hills Drive,” and honestly, if you thought Cole was a dope producer before this release. You’re in for a beautiful awakening.
Cole has once again found freedom in his music, while also gaining the ability to channel his frustrations of the world. Whether it be the social issues we all face together, or the unexpected challenges he faces from the music industry, Cole is open to sparking a meaningful and proactive conversation. All for the hope that something will change.
Cole has also gotten even better as a rapper than what everybody thought was necessarily possible. On “4 Your Eyez Only,” he showed how he can easily expose the flaws in what is society’s day-to-day norms, as evidenced by “False Prophets.” Though the perceived Kanye diss-track was not included on the release, it more than showed off Cole’s ability express exactly what he feels about something, or in this case someone.
The highlight of the “4 Your Eyez Only” is easily “Neighbors,” which is credited on the album as being based on real-life events. Story has it that Cole and his producers rented a house in North Carolina in order to continue their work on the release, but their neighbors became increasingly paranoid about their intentions. The neighbors informed the local authorities of their suspicions, and it got as far as a SWAT team being called on the house Cole was renting. I’ll stop there so as to not spoil anything for those who haven’t listened to the track.
“Neighbors,” is a beautiful attack on the closeted racism that is widely accepted as a day-to-day norm, and it’s only part what is overall an incredible release by J. Cole. If you haven’t listened to “4 Your Eyez Only,” then I definitely recommend that you do so as soon as possible. Especially considering this is by far his most well crafted album as a producer in his career, and his most emphatic as a rapper.