Skip to main content

4 Your Eyes Only, Completely Raw and Amazing

In a 2016 where social justice and matters of social concern surrounds us, J.Cole's latest album is one that I thoroughly looked forward to. After Friday Night Lights, Born Sinner, and 2014 Forest Hills Drive, J.Cole's return seem anticipated by many fans of hip-hop. After listening to it for several days, I feel like I finally have a grasp on it to share. 

After all, I will tell you, and everyone else I've discussed the album with - it's not for everyone. Don't expect an album with bass-booming beats, hot one-line lyrics that are counter-culture and socially woke, but do expect an honest and raw - yes, oh so completely raw! - emotionally filled album about life, love, and loss. 

So yes, that's not everyone's cup of tea. I get it. But for me, I like love meaning and depth in my hip hop. It's why I find fewer and fewer artists that I can relate to in today's game. Cole's ability to set a narrative for the album in which he is telling a story similar to his life, yet, also speaking from the perspective of his friend who passed away, is the kind of "genius" I believe get's overlooked in today's musical realm.

Again, don't expect crazy productions, sick beats, features from other performers, or club bangers on this album. Just throw on some headphones, and let his words, and the emotion just guide you on the journey. It's definitely for a certain mood, and possibly even an acquired mindset. 

Of course, not on this album are "False Prophets" and "Everybody Dies" which were released prior to the album's drop (both highly recommended), but just didn't fit with the 4 Your Eyes Only vibe. 

Below are a few favorites from the album: 

She's Mine Pt. 2 - An ode to his new daughter, this track is simple, but evokes the feelings of Cole as he deals with being a new husband, and of course, the wonders of his new daughter. 

Foldin' Clothes - In my opinion, not just the best beat on the album, but possibly an overlooked song by many. It's the kind of track that probably any married man can relate to, especially those who never saw that type of love coming. If you're in this mold, you have to appreciate the following verse:

"There's no where I need to be
Except right here with you
Except right here with you
Foldin' clothes, watching Netflix
Catching up on our shows, eating breakfast
Raisin Bran in my bowl
With bananas and some almond milk
I never thought I'd see the day
I'm drinking almond milk!"

All in all, the track takes something as simple as folding clothes, and how it becomes a symbol of wanting to be with your significant other over things you've done in the past. 

4 Your Eyes Only - The first time I listened to this track in my car, it left me with my jaw dropped. I had to attempt to digest it, and then of course, hit repeat. The track is absolutely beautiful. The first time I heard it I thought that it was Cole's message to his daughter and him acknowledging his future death, but then after multiple listens, you understand that it's a song left by his friend for his friend's daughter and it completely changes the entire album. Which of course, shows the double meaning of the entire album, and its beauty. At least in my opinion. Of course, wrapped up in that is the issue of social justice, mass incarceration, and the misunderstood black male, which again, is hinted on the track, Neighbors, which is also great. 

Recently Read Posts

Dear Son, Letting In and Letting Go

--25 Weeks Old (Before Birth)--
Dear Son, 
The word is now spreading to more and more people about your existence, or eventual arrival - however, you prefer to look at it - and it feels like a fire that is now out of our control. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but as mentioned in prior letters to you, your mother and I are pretty methodical in how we divulge news about our private lives. 
Truthfully, your mother is definitely more willing to share news than I am, and you'll eventually see that one day. Maybe I'll change, who knows? But the truth is, because of the nature in how I grew up, in the neighborhood that I did, and really, the independence that I had to attain early on, I've always been late to share things with others. That's just who I am. It's probably why I have had this very blog since I was sixteen - to let those thoughts out somewhere.

March Sadness

This post has been coming for awhile, and it now seems like the best time to do so...
So, here goes...
Division I Basketball is getting more and more difficult for me to watch and support. 
Just like I once laid out regarding my ethical feelings towards the NFL (and really, football, overall), thus is the same credence and feelings I have developing for Division I Basketball - mainly the NCAA's approach to it. Now of course, my feelings aren't something new as many share my thoughts and opinions on this - the NCAA is corrupt and college basketball is a sham. But for me, it goes even deeper - certain programs, coaches, and communities enable this exploitation of young men. And yes, many shy away from that word, but that's exactly what college basketball has become, an exploitation of services.

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 3/18/18

3 Up 
1. UMBC - I'm really struggling to watch these tournament games. The games have been entertaining, but morally, I can't stomach the exploitation of these young men (more on that some other time). Regardless, kudos to the young men of UMBC who made history this week. I'm thrilled to see such a program make headlines, and of course, for a coach from the DII and DIII ranks who did it the right way. 
2. UMBC Social Media Team - Yo, whoever is running the UMBC Twitter following their defeat of Virginia deserves a raise. There was some serious shade being thrown, and to be honest, everyone who was in their way in some ways, deserves it. 
3. 2018 Paralympics - Oddly, I watched a tremendous amount of these games and was totally in awe of the athletes. Shockingly, the hockey games were super entertaining to me. So much love and credit to those who participated, and even more importantly, continue to persevere despite disabilities. 
3 Down
1. Florida Bridge Collapse - So sad. I…

Dome Pondering Movie Review: Roman J. Israel Esq. (2017)

What is it about?
An unusual but driven and idealistic lawyer finds himself in a series of events that forces him to his extremes, and ultimately, to make a decision on what he stands for. 
Who is in it? 
Denzel Washington - Roman J. Israel Esq. 
Colin Farrell - George Pierce 
Carmen Ejogo - Maya Alston