Music Review: J.Cole’s “4 Your Eyez Only”

By Seby Shuken ’18

After a long wait J.Cole has finally dropped his new album “4 Your Eyez Only”. This album has been highly anticipated because of his largely popular “Forest Hills Drive” album which was released in 2014.
Through the use of lyrics the new album takes on the role of talking about the Black Lives Matter movement. In one of my favorite songs, ‘Neighbors’ he discusses this issue by saying that African-Americans are often shown as criminals, drug dealers, and other negative stereotypes created by society. He essentially says that no matter where he goes, racism will be present. Not only is he able to create music that has actual meaning, but the song itself is impeccable. The bass heavy track is uplifting but also has a beat that will get you dancing.
Another track that I was intrigued by was ‘Deja Vu’ which took on Bryson Tiller’s similar beat. This gave me a familiar sense and instantly attached me to the song. On the song “Immortal” he discusses the violence that exists in his community, giving a vivid picture of this through his words. This new album resembles Kendrick Lamar’s style of discussing issues within society, so if you are a Kendrick fan you are sure to love this album.
Overall I felt that the album was satisfactory and it’s worth everyone’s time to take a listen to some of his tracks. However, I felt as though as an artist he didn’t take as many risks as he could have or has in the past. In his last album, songs like “No role modelz” were revolutionary in the rap world and influenced the style that is now common in many popular tracks because of its innovation and creativity.
I would still say that ‘Forest Hills Drive’ was a better album artistically but failed to discuss social issues and mostly talked about his own life. That being said, I think that “4 Your Eyez Only” succeeded in its ability to showcase the racial tensions that have worsened in recent years. After listening to the entirety, it has become apparent that he is describing society not through his point of view, but of a young African-American.