On ‘4 Your Eyez Only’ J. Cole broadcasts storytelling, moves away from hype


Album artwork courtesy Dreamville Records.

By Michael Gorman

With “4 Your Eyez Only,” North Carolina rapper J. Cole has proven his storytelling ability, though he didn’t expand on his production or delivery. It’s somewhat of a disappointment, as he had been building up momentum for several years; he had impressive features on other songs, and in 2014, with “2014 Forest Hills Drive,” Cole went double platinum with no features.

To the happiness of meme-creators everywhere, there are no features, but for fans of faster-paced music the album is disappointing, as Cole focuses more on storytelling than hype beats.

As far as vocal delivery goes, he didn’t expand very much. “4 Your Eyez Only” sounds like an extension of past albums and features.

The production also doesn’t expand much on what he’s done in the past, but that’s not to say the production is lacking. The sound Cole creates is still fantastic and set the often serious tone perfectly.

“Foldin’ Clothes” is the most energetic song on the album. Throughout the track, J. Cole raps about how he wants to be the best husband he can be for his wife, especially now that they have a baby together. “I wanna fold clothes for you, I wanna make you feel good.” The upbeat tune converts the light, pleasant concept into an enjoyable song.

The album ends on an incredibly emotional note, one that will bring listeners to the verge of tears. Cole raps about the entire concept of the album, which is that love is the most important thing in the world. The focus acts as marked shift from what many rappers talk about these days–dealing drugs, strippers and money–giving the album a genuine, familiar feel. “Your daddy was real because he loved you.”  And because Cole is real on the album, this is one that will get its fair share of listens.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5