Written By @THEMOGULGIRL
There is a Bantu Proverb that says " The eye never forgets what the heart has seen." J.Cole released his fourth album "4 Your Eyez Only" December 9, 2016 after releasing his "Eyez" documentary, and videos for "False Prophets" and "Everybody Dies". J.Cole always shakes the internet and music world up with his lay it on the line, solidness, and straight forwardness. "4 Your Eyez Only" takes you on an expedition through the mind, heart, soul, and eyes of J.Cole as he recounts everything that has made him into the man, husband, father, and vessel he is today. Have you heard the quote " The eyes are the mirror to the soul?" Mirrors are used in this saying as a reference to reflecting on ones life. Sometimes we have to reflect on the past to be able to deal with the present and the future. So let's get into why this album is so powerful.
1.) For Whom The Bell Tolls
English Poet John Donne wrote a poem entitled " For Who The Bell Tolls" the poem emphasizes that because we are all alive , that the loss of one of us a humans is a loss to everyone. On this song J.Cole refers that pain , pressure, confusion and death can not be escaped. That even through hopes and prayers death still comes to us all. So the loss of some one close affects others.
Growing up in the hood isn't easy. Wanting more and having less. The pain is unforgettable. Crime , selling drugs, losing friends to the streets. Watching a family member being taken to jail. All of this is forever immortalized because the pain never leaves. J.Cole touches on the fact that people tend to love you more when you die. He also sheds light on how black you men are categorized to either be rappers, sell drugs, or play sports instead of being educated or having other careers. He also mentions "Strange Fruit" a poem by Abel Meeropol sang by Billie Holiday which talked about the blood shed of blacks whom were killed by lynchings. Yet modern day lynchings are still happening by cops against black young males.
3.) Deja Vu
This track embraces a story of unexpected young love, being attracted to some one even though they may be with some one else. Beauty and dreaming. He raps about "Every winner got a lose some day". So he's referring to the person she's dating . The guy is obviously winning cause they have her, but he's about to lose her to him.
4.) Ville Mentality
This song is major . Often times where we grow up shapes our minds, personalities, and actions. J.Cole grew up in Fayetville, North Carolina. He had a close-freind to gun violence. On this song a little girl tells how her father was setup , shot and killed. She also mentions how she didn't go to his funeral and how sometimes she gets mad at her mom for being mean to her and she wishes her dad was here. The street mentality often leads to more pain . His friends life was taken. The little girl who is speaking on the track expresses the pain of losing her father.
5.)She's Mine Part 1
J.Cole is a married man. This song is a staple on his album. For one social media has affected so many relationships. J.Cole doesn't blast his personal life or marriage on social media. Their relationship and marriage is beautifully theirs. On this song he expressed how love changed his life. Men sometimes have a problem with opening up because they haven't had a father or male figure to show them how to express themselves and how to really let someone in. That hurt from growing without a proper example affected one so deep that love seemed so distant. Yet the love is found and here to stay.
Having a relationship with the Lord can change your life like never before. Better days come when you reflect, meditate, get stronger, and asking for forgiveness. J.Cole expresses how God knows us so he understands all of are faults and that no matter what God is still around. Change comes from inside. He also talks about the battle with fame and being himself. But he states he will be a vessel for the truth. It is at the end of the song that he talks about his friend "22 year old James" who was killed.
When you get the chance to move out the hood into a good neighborhood and you're black , the neighbors assume you are a drug dealer. J.Cole discussed wanting privacy, getting away from the fame, not having fancy cars, and just trying to live a better life. He mentions "So much for integration" Stating that even though the laws were passed for blacks and whites to be together, they still don't want blacks in their neighborhoods, stores, schools, establishments, etc.
8.) Foldin Clothes
It's all about the simple things in a relationship and life that show love. J.Cole talks about seeing his wife pregnant asleep and that all he wants to do is make her happy and be with her. So he talks about folding clothes as an example to show that something as small as that can mean so much. He talks about being present and balanced. We get so distracted by our phones and life problems that we aren't really present our minds are somewhere else. Yet this time J.Cole is saying that he wants to just spend time with the woman he loves and connect, watch movies, and just enjoy each other. At the end of the song he states that "N*ggas from the hood are the best actors" because they have to not smile and be tough all the time to the point where they believe it so much they forget the simple things like love, happiness, and a future beyond the streets.
9.)She's Mine Part 2
It is here that we hear the pride and joy of J.Cole's heart. His daughter has arrived. We hear her cries. This song just opens you to his heart as a man, husband and father. That his daughter is a gift from God. That all his life has been a fight to get to this very point where his daughter is born. He said " F*ck this album look what God made". This song is just perfect and soul-felt.
Congratulations to him and wife Melissa. Cole also discusses greed from corporations , spending money with big business meanwhile the people that can't afford it remain in a no money cycle trying to fit in for things such as Black Friday.
10.) 4 Your Eyez Only
J.Cole delivers the story of his friend James who he informed us was killed earlier in the album. His friend had felonies and couldn't get a real job to support his daughter so he remained in the streets although he wanted to stop and J.Cole tried to steer him away from it .His friend feels like he might not see his daughter grow up because he might lose his life but hopes he doesn't . Yet James prays that he could be with her in spirit if he does. He prays she won't date a guy simialar to himself and how she might have misuderstood feelings about him for not being around. He refers to the fact that he also lost his dad to gun violence so he know what it feels like. He tells how he told her mom to name her "Nina". Nina is the little girl you heard speaking on "Ville Mentality". James wants his daughter to date a guy with goals and not someone that would leave her future child fatherless because he's either dead or incarcerated. He says he hoped that this story doesn't have to be told because he'd still be around but he already has a feeling he won't be. J.Cole talks about the last convo he had with James. That even though they grew up from children to adults their paths were different. James was having premontions of his death and that he wanted J.Cole to be the one that told his story to Nina. He even tells Cole he thinks life would be better if we stayed segregated but J.Cole realizes if that happened he himself wouldn't be here because his father is black and mother is white. Yet J.Cole tells the story to Nina that her dad wasn't real because all of the street life , he was real because he loved her. In other words James risked everything about his life to go get it and provide for his daughter that he loved but he ended up losing his life because of it.
J.Cole tells multiple intertwining stories on this album that connect to a bigger picture. From his eyes to our hearts. This verisimilitude of this album is one to be respected and held dear. The album sheds light on so many situations including mass incarceration , growing up with out a father, lack of affection, maturing, love, success, racial categorization ( assuming blacks have to be in entertainment, sports, or sell drugs) , econimic greed, killings by blacks or whites, and so much more . There's so much you can learn from this album. I literally sat there listening to the "4 Your Eyez Only " blowed away by J.Cole's truthfulness and his ability to put this album together so poetically raw. He also talked about having a relationship with Lord Jesus is important and I must say honestly the more you walk with him , the more things change for the better. The album is amazing ! Congratulations, J.Cole again on another successful album, your marriage and daughter.
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