Jermaine Lamarr Cole, otherwise known as J Cole, surprised fans when an unexpected pre-order for his fourth studio album ‘4 Your Eyez Only’ popped up on iTunes last week.
Earlier this year, Cole announced he would not be making any more stage appearances for a while, so this release came as a shock, even to die-hard Cole fans.
Shortly after announcing the album release, the ‘No Role Modelz’ rapper released 40-minute documentary ‘Eyez’, giving an in-depth insight in to his life after previous album ‘Forest Hills Drive’.
It showed behind-the-scenes clips of Cole’s production and recording, gearing us up for the big release.
After hitting the double platinum milestone with ‘Forest Hills Drive’ we thought that was it from Cole, but the king of low-key makes a soulful return with ‘4 Your Eyez Only’ today.
With no featured artists, Cole keeps his 10-track album simple with tight beats, strings, guitars and a touch of bass.
Ingenious lyricist that he is, Cole makes his lyrics the focal point with settled, soulful background music creating a mellow vibe, preparing us for his story.
The immersive storyteller speaks out about black lives, fatherhood, responsibilities and enjoying the simple, finer things in life. It’s all very deep and personal with this album: no striking beats, just a lyrical avalanche.
For example, the song ‘Folding Clothings’ is a perfect example of how Cole defines hope.
Despite keeping his private family life away from music and the media, Cole raps about the joys of fatherhood in his two-part song ‘She’s Mine’.
In part two he says: “Any night that you be crying, I’ll dry your eyes.” As with any of Cole’s songs, you can hear the emotion in his voice, giving you goose bumps and taking you on an emotional journey through his storytelling.
Aside from the mellow, deep tracks, Cole delivers the songs ‘Déjà vu’ and ‘Neighbours’ with a faster flow, fire and passion as he raps about fame and fortune.
To close his 10-track project, Cole ends the album with his title track ‘4 Your Eyez Only’ closing his emotional musical journey.
J Cole undeniably made a firing comeback with this album but is that it from him now for the next few years?
As always, he exceeded expectations with this album, but one criticism would be the absence of big features, Cole could have added in a Drake feature like he did in his early albums.
Regardless of this-criticism, ’4 Your Eyez Only’ is definitely a striking way to end the year, musically.