Hip-Hop is a genre with no limits. It is also a great place for people to speak out. Some of the best albums come out of protest, dating back towards the days of N.W.A, Tupac, and Notorious B.I.G. Since that time not many rappers have been able to use their voice in a proper way, but a rapper named J. Cole has caught the attention of many with his ability to create music that really tells you how he feels through a masterful album called 4 Your Eyez Only. J. Cole is coming from a state of mind where he’s done with feeding into a never-ending cycle of not making a change with the people of his race. He’s done with being the the typical rap star searching for platinum albums.
J. Cole began feeling this way prior to his most recent album release, after feeling out the rap game prior to his two other platinum album where he spoke of things he didn’t feel relevant, things he was tired of hearing from other rappers, so he decided to get away. He moved back to Fayetteville, got married and started using music as his own platform. J. Cole was a man on his way to giving up. He was looking for a way out, and a reason why all of these terrible things are happening to people of color. This album really reveals J. Cole’s story and why he is where he is and really what he could have been. This is the most important album he has ever written and will forever be remembered because of its great sound, story, and overall meaning behind the album.
The sound of this album plays a key role in the overall meaning of this album. J. Cole mixes and matches in this album from songs that include low and slow tempo beats such as She’s Mine part 1&2, compared to songs like Immortal that sound like a modern-day rap song. J. Cole also does a great job of keeping this album relaxed, this helps the listener really appreciate the lyrics and the message he is trying to get across. He does an especially great job of doing this in the song called Foldin Clothes, a very upbeat sound yet done with a fairly slow pace. This also occurs in songs like Immortal where J. Cole seamlessly produces a beat that is very fast but never overpowers his lyrics. The sound also contributes greatly to the story that J. Cole is telling. Going from each song the sound and J. Coles overall mood changes. Every beat that is presented in his songs tells a story of their own. They go from in the beginning of the album very slow and low instruments then move onto more upbeat sounds such as Foldin Clothes and Change. The sound of an album is a very large part of every album, but many rappers struggle in having the sound in the songs pair perfectly together to form a story and set the mood for the story of J. Cole and his friend.
Another reason for how this album is something that can only be found once in a lifetime is the everlasting story that is being told through each song. Many people get lost in the meaning of these songs, but to break it down you see that every song is placed in there for a reason. The album goes from J. Cole wanting to die and give up, then it talks about meeting a girl and feeling like he’s never felt before. Then he comes to a revelation that his friends are dying in the streets and he is continuing to selling drugs. J. Cole also has a daughter, after that on the last song on the album he signs out by saying he’s dead the streets have gotten to him. After listening to this album many times I realized it wasn’t his life he was talking about it was his friend.J Cole was talking about how similar their lives were until he was able to get out of the streets and become what he is now, but his friend wasn’t able to get out of the streets so he ended up dying. J Cole then lives on to tell his daughter about how even though her father was on the streets he was still I great guy hence the name 4 Your Eyez Only.
In conclusion, this is an album that was able to let J Cole be someone to make a change, to tell the story of what happens on the streets. This is an album where J Cole gave you the truth about his life, the truth about what is happening. In a world of hip-hop where everyone just wants to move up the ranks and never stop making money, J Cole was able to take a step back and talk about what life really is all about and what is happening in the streets. This album was a musical masterpiece that turned the heads of many Hip-Hop fans in America due to J Coles ability to show a story of his friend and to contribute to an overall meaning to the album using beautiful beats, lyrics and the tactical placement of the songs.