by Ciaran Farley
After a long wait, J. Cole released his highly anticipated album, 4 Your Eyez Only. Continuing his trademark featureless approach, J. Cole uses this album to speak about social issues in America and the African American community; various references and verses are dedicated to the present Black Lives Matter Movement, and the song “She’s Mine” focus on themes of fatherhood. Aside from addressing these universal themes of equality and family, the album tells the narrative of J. Cole’s slain friend who goes by the pseudonym James McMillian Jr. Supposedly the album is a biographical piece for James’s daughter who he left behind after he died to explain his life as he goes from selling illicit substances, to trying to turn his life around after finding love and starting a family. The album have already reached top status on Billboard 200, becoming J. Cole’s fourth number one album. The track “Deja Vu” became J. Cole’s highest charting song when it entered the US Billboard Hot 100 at number 7. The rest of 4 Your Eyez Only, debuted in top 40 of Billboard Hot 100 as well, a feat considering previously J. Cole could only boast of 4 top 40 hits in his career.
To foreshadow his new album J. Cole released a 40 minute documentary, “Eyez” chronicling the recording process of 4 Your Eyez Only, and features two singles, separate from the album. These two singles, already topping the Billboard Charts, “Everybody Dies” and “False Prophets” have caused controversy due to many thinking he was insulting rappers, including Kanye West and Drake on certain verses. 4 Your Eyez Only is a stunning follow up to the artist’s preceding album that was the first rap album in 25 years to achieve double platinum certification in 25 years with no featuring artists; while it is soon to say, 4 Your Eyez Only already stands as a fundamental piece in our current hip hop era.