It’s a Cole, Cole World

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Rahnuma Beheshti

Tasfia Alam ’17 listening to J. Cole’s latest album.

The holiday season is all about giving, and many fans of prominent artists, young and old, received the gift of multiple new albums.

Jermaine Lamarr Cole, better known for his stage name J. Cole, skyrocketed through music charts after the release of his critically acclaimed LP, 2014 Forest Hills Drive.

Exactly two years later, J. Cole released his fourth studio album from Dreamville Records under Roc Nation and Interscope Records, titled 4 Your Eyez Only. The album consists of ten songs with no features from other artists, making it purely Cole.

Critics of Cole’s new album argue that his previous works portrayed his musical abilities much better. But Cole’s purpose was to tell a story, and his album did just that, from the first song to the very last. It unwinds a tale about love and family.

As the album progresses, Cole continues by describing difficulty, bad decisions, and pain. He puts himself in another person’s shoes and raps through different perspectives.

“His album wasn’t meant for his audience to ‘turn up’ to; it’s more for listeners to reflect on and really hear what he’s trying to say. It’s definitely much different from the common theme in the songs other rappers have been putting out now, but I do feel that it’s a good album, even though there could be some improvement,” says Tasfia Alam ’17.

Cole describes his growth and change as he becomes a mature, family man and realizes what’s important in his life.

In his seventh song, “Neighbors,” he touches on social class and race issues. He fears that his wealth will make the neighbors believe that he’s a drug dealer.

In “Immortal” and “Ville Mentality,” he addresses the dangers of being a street rapper and tries to find a way out.

4 Your Eyez Only sold 492,000 copies in the first week surpassing The Weeknd’s opening sales for Starboy of 348,000.

All ten songs in the album, as well as his non-album ones, including diss tracks, “False Prophets” and “Everybody Dies” appear on the Billboard Hot 100. “Deja Vu” leads the entries at Number 7, picking up 26.9 million on-demand domestic streams for the opening week, while also taking the Number 1 spot on the On-Demand Streaming Songs chart.

“J.Cole’s album is definitely different from past ones; but the difference is good. In 2016, there was a wave of rappers who lacked substance, and I think this album veers away from that,” said Isabel Reyers ’17. “Cole talks about serious issues, which is refreshing.”

Whether or not you are a fan of J. Cole’s music or rap in general, 4 Your Eyez Only is definitely worth the listen.

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