Music Review: 4 Your Eyez Only
By Erik Williams
J.Cole gave music a breath of fresh air to end 2016. 4 Your Eyez Only was released on December 9th, two years after his double platinum (with no features) 2014 Forrest Hills Drive. This album has smooth mellow beats, accompanied with insightful lyrics. J.Cole delivers a masterpiece for those who enjoy the story behind music as well.
4 Your Eyez Only debut no. 1 on the Billboard 200, and the whole album landed in the Hot 100. The top singles of this album are “Immortal,” “Déjà vu,” and “Neighbors.” These songs are a great listen, and fit perfectly with the story of the album. “Immortal” exposes J.Cole’s ability to explain thoughts and feelings thoroughly. Such talent in this genre is rarely seen, but J.Cole adds himself to the prolific list that contains this ability. Although “Déjà vu” has some controversy over the beat (the same beat can be heard in Bryson Tiller’s song “Exchange”), it is still an excellent example of J.Cole being able to transform any beat to a classic. Perhaps the hardest hitting song on the album is “Neighbors.” In this track, J.Cole tells the story of his own experience with police wrongfully barging into his studio, located in a prominent neighborhood, because of his neighbors’ paranoia and accusations while confronting racism in today’s society as he does throughout the album. The songs catchy chorus and impressive flows makes it an all-around pleasing song.
J.Cole knew his 4th studio album may be his last, so he set out to use his platform to tell a story through music like no other. The lyrics are very insightful and deserve to be listened with intent. The album in its entirety shares a story of J.Cole and his friend, James McMillan. It is unclear if James is a real person or not, but throughout the album, J.Cole makes his emotions and life seem very real. The songs paint a picture of both their lives, and initially the lives were the same. J.Cole goes on to describe his counterpart being trapped in the culture of the streets and eventually dying. At the conclusion of the Album, J.Cole reveals that the purpose of this album is to tell his friends story to his daughter. 4 Your Eyez Only is a wonderful depiction of the impact a music can have. The album refreshes the idea that music is truly an art that expresses the gamut of emotions that a human can have.