News 10 December 2016
Author: Saquib Butt

1st Listen Review: J. Cole’s ‘4 Your Eyez Only’ album

Author Saquib Butt
10 December 2016

1. “For Whom the Bell Tolls” 

Some dodgy singing.. production is sounding cold though. Wood instruments, okay. Some faster paced dodgy singing. This sounds dark, if it starts this dark God knows what’s next.

2. “Immortal”

OKAY NOW WE’RE TALKING. BARS.  Right, I’m nodding my head, this beat sounds like it started as some crazy “Fire Squad” shit and then was totally stripped and suffocated. Ah second part is cold, very personal, Cole loves talking about Forbidden Fruit’s don’t he?

3. “Deja Vu”

Ohhhhh damn, “Swing My Way” sample. I was half programmed to start singing Tiller if Cole’s voice hadn’t echoedout. Seems like he’s talking to a female? Nice. I kinda want to turn this off and put Bryson Tiller’s “Exchange” on which I never thought I’d ever say. This is feeling like some sort of prequel at the moment. On first impressions, this is average at best, feels quite half hearted and that “GOMD” style hook is bloody awful. Cole’s singing sounds a lot better on this quickly followed by a bridge with some craaazy bass. 

4. “Ville Mentality”

Yeahhhh, nice start, sounds bluesy, feel to pour a glass. Ewwwwwww, what are them vocals!? “Heeeeheeee” no no no. Okay, some girl has just started talking about her dead father. Oh, Cole’s back. If you didn’t catch that, NEVER throw dirt on Cole’s name. The “Heeeeheeee” chorus has kinda grown on me actually. 4 tracks in and this all feels like an “Intro”, has the album even started yet?

5. “She’s Mine Pt. 1”

More singing… yawn. Cole starts to rap, bars for a female again. very nice though, voice sounds like some slurred drunken voicemail. These live shows with a band will be CRAZY.

6. “Change” 

Yup, can fuck with this, some drums and 808’s. Feel like the album’s finally started. Flows hard. This is the Cole I love and want. More philosophical stuff but as long as he’s rapping like this it’s cool. The female singing is sick. Clear favourite by a country mile so far, I’d go as far as to say it’s the only one I want to start again. Some more talk of death and shootings. Wow, them tears in the background are subtle but powerful. Another long ass outro.

7. “Neighbors”

DRUMMMS! I THINK THE NEIGHBOURS THINK I’M SELLING DOPE! AHHH YEAHHH, HARDDDD! Flowssssss. Real head bopper. A lot of conscious talk again, I feel like the young American will definitely connect to this more than us British. Well motherfucker I am.. lol yes Cole.

8. “Foldin Clothes”

Ooooooh bass baby, this would sound mad on the right sound system. He’s expressing his love to a female by saying “I want to fold clothes for you”. Only Cole. Almond milk? The vegans round the world will love this. Not sure how it fits the album though, feels completely random? He goes on to say it’s the simple things.. if folding your clothes and pouring almond milk onto your cereal is enough for you to love me, then shout me ladies, I can fuck with that. 

9. “She’s Mine Pt. 2”

Piano.. okay a baby is crying. Wait, I heard this “catch me I’ve fallen in love” on “She’s Mine Pt. 1”. Could this be about his baby momma? Did someone just say Daddy? Ohhhhh it’s about his child. Wow, shots at Santa Claus & Black Friday, nobody is safe. This is some real shit he’s rapping though. Cole continues to talk about being a father, sounds like his daughter really changed his life. Aww, some nice words to his daughter. Cute as it is, I’m kinda bored, maybe this is purely one for the fathers amongst us to enjoy. 

10. “4 Your Eyez Only”

Wow last song, 10 songs really is short. This last offering is probably the closest to conventional Cole so far, whatever that may be. Another one for his daughter, “4 Your Eyez Only” may be a direct reference to his daughter. Ahhhh I get it, this is for his daughter to listen back to when she’s grown to understand what Cole is like, amazing. Nice touch. Okay okay, this last song is helping the rest of the album make sense but that’s not a saving grace by any means. Oh my god it’s 8 minutes long but I only noticed that at 5:40 so that’s a good sign. For 8 minutes long, that is a solid track.

Right that’s the end.

To wrap up, first impressions are solid if unspectacular, no songs really stand out, there’s not a single radio hit on there and in no way does it match up to 2014 Forest Hills Drive, but then again I don’t think it was designed to do so. The album had it’s purpose and feels like something Cole HAD to do, I can’t imagine he had too much fun making it to be honest, there was a clear message he wanted to get across and he did. There’s no aux cord in the whip tracks, there’s no text your boy ASAP to tell him how fire it is tracks, it’s an intimate, subdued album designed to be enjoyed on your own in a certain, reflective mood.

I’s almost a 30 minute long letter from Cole himself. Musically smooth, strong bars in points, will be amazing live but it wouldn’t surprise me one single bit if Cole was currently making a, pardon the rudeness, proper album for us all to relate to. It really is 4 Your Eyez Only whoever “Your” is, because it’s certainly not for all of us, but it’s really hard to be mad at Cole for that decision


Saq Out.