Friday, Dec. 9, 2016, North Carolina rapper J. Cole released his much-anticipated senior album “4 Your Eyez Only.”
The project features ten tracks and zero featured guest. Although making a completely solo album is admirable, a few features would have helped the album more than it would harm it. A guest verse from Scarface could have given “Neighbors,” 4 Your Eyez Only seventh song, that extra push from an OK song to a great one.
Lyrically, the album is over hyped. In some instances his flow does not match the beat at all. Cole’s does have some social content but his delivery is so monotone it makes the listener lose interest. You may have to listen to certain tracks more than once to catch everything that was said. This is not because Cole’s lyrics are complex. It is because the delivery is boring.
On “Deja Vu,” the albums third track, Cole attempts at recreate Bryson Tiller’s “Exchange” and fails miserably. Almost every attempt Cole has made to sample or redo another artist’s song ends up being borderline disrespectful to the original artist. This can be seen on Born Sinner’s “Land of the Snakes” which sampled Outkast “Da Art Of Storytellin’ (Part 1)” and The Warm Up’s “Til Infinity” which is a rip off of Souls of Mischief’s “93 ‘Til Infinity.”
The production is the albums strong point but is nothing too incredible either. Many of the beats have a smooth-jazzy feel but they do not captivate you the way A Tribe Called Quest‘s beats have. A lot of the production sounds the same to the point where you did not realize the song had changed.
Overall, “4 Your Eyez Only” is decent. Not bad, not great but decent. It is DEFIANTLY NOT A CLASSIC. It is the perfect album for background music while you’re doing spring cleaning. Although it certainly will not change your previous opinion of Jermaine in any way. If his past three albums were not enough to impress you before, “4 Your Eyez Only” will not impress you now. If you were already living on “Cole World” you were going to like this album regardless.
Overall Rating: C