For Your Eyez Only — Good or Bad?
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“I’d rather be happy being myself then sad trying to please everyone else.” This quote from the rapper Jermaine Coleman, known publicly as J. Cole, perfectly sums up what happened with his latest album, For Your Eyez Only. The feedback from this release has been divided, with mixed reviews from listeners saying he has lost his sound to others looking deeper and saying it’s all about the lyrics.
“Jermaine Lamarr Cole, born January 28, 1985, better known by his stage name J. Cole, is an American hip hop recording artist and record producer. Raised in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Cole initially gained recognition as a rapper following the release of his debut mixtape, The Come Up, in early 2007. Intent on further pursuing a solo career as a rapper, he would go on to release two additional mixtapes after signing to Jay Z’s Roc Nation imprint in 2009.” SInce then he has released albums such as, Coleworld: The Sideline Story (2011), Born Sinner (2013), 2014 Forest HIlls Drive (2014), and now For Your Eyez Only. His 2014 album 2014 Forest Hills Drive, named after his childhood home is world known for being the album that “went double platinum with no features.” This essentially means that the album sold over 2 million copies while he was the only artist on the record. This past success built up the hype for the 2016 album and some say that he fulfilled that potential while other would say otherwise.
The story behind For Your Eyez Only has been widely speculated, but one underlying story that almost everyone has agreed on goes like this, The album opens with Cole getting out of “The ‘Ville,” a nickname he has given to Fayetteville, his hometown, where he is afraid that if he stays he will become a dealer. It continues to the track “She’s Mine, Pt.1” where Cole talks about meeting a girl and falling in love with her. A few tracks later in “She’s Mine, Pt.2” he talks about having his daughter and expresses his love to her, the next, and final, track is entitled, “For Your Eyez Only” on which he his talking directly to his daughter.
In the end, yes, this album doesn’t have the same hyped up sound as his past albums, but it cannot be denied that there is an amazing story in the lyrics for those willing to listen.