"One Man Army"
On December 9, 2016, J. Cole released his fourth studio album 4 Your Eyez Only. This stunted many people as a surprise album as it was announced only months before it's release. With his last album 2014 Forest Hills Drive going double platinum within two years, it goes without saying that this album has shoes to fill. On this time around, Cole remains feature-less and locks in a lot of his lyrics on the common struggles in black culture.
Throughout "Ville Mentality" he speaks on the effects of growing up and living in a crumbling environment; while in "Neighbors" he speaks on some of the common stereotypes against wealthy black men in America. Next to the talk about racial situations, Cole made sure to mention his appreciation for love and relationships throughout his life as well. Many times throughout Cole's career, he spoke on the importance of having love within your life and he expressed that even more so with "Foldin' Clothes" and "Deja Vu" on this album.
Although these factors are enough to create an intriguing album alone, these elements are only the surface of the album. The interesting thing about this album is that it acts as a metaphor for his friend James who was murdered years ago. Throughout this album, Cole touches on the story of his close friend but explains it in the most depth in the outro of the album. In the last song of the album, Cole raps from his friend perspective and explains his story of being pressured into crime to feed his family while risking his life. In the end, James asks Cole to tell his story to his daughter if his destiny ever catches up with him. Which he does in this album - for her eyes only.
A few of my favorites are "Change", "Neighbors", and "4 Your Eyez Only".