There is no secret that I am a huge J. Cole fan and love all of his work, past and present. As I was trying to figure out what to write about for this week, I stopped and looked at my first J. Cole CD. Then it hit me. I'll write about one of my biggest inspirations and give a few reasons why everyone needs to listen to J. Cole at least once. You don't have to become a fan, but giving him a listen won't hurt.
J. Cole's music is the best music for when you wanna think deep. I have a Spotify playlist that I listen to when I need to write or work on homework. And J. Cole encompasses a lot of the playlist because his flow is just mellow. I don't always want to listen to rap music and feel like I need to get up and bounce around.
Great rap music can have you think about life and Cole does this best for me in the song "4 Your Eyez Only". And yes, the "eyez" is supposed to be spelled with a "z." This song is about a character that is seen throughout Cole's album, "4 Your Eyez Only," and it is in a letter to a little girl named Nina from her deceased father.
Cole raps the letter to the little girl and it has a tone that is depressing but catches the audience's attention. In the final verse, Cole switches into his own words and tells the little girl about her father, "your daddy was a real n****, not 'cause he was hard. Not because he lived a life of crime and sat behind some bars. Not because he screamed, 'F*** the law.' Although that was true. Your daddy was a real n**** cause he loved you." This part of the song is such a hit in the stomach that you can't just listen to it and not feel something. Cole can just tap into the emotions of the audience and deliver amazing bars.
Besides Cole being a go-to when it comes to deep thinkers, he is just a great lyricist. One of my favorite lines that makes me laugh is when J. Cole is guest featured on Janet Jackson's song "No Sleep". Cole raps, "But too scared to say cause we know how this seems. Thinking, maybe we'd be better off friends with benefits." Cole is just having a good time and rapping about love and friendship with comedy. Another song that I know people are familiar with is his hit single, "Work Out". In this song, Cole is having fun with saying him and this girl should get together and "work out." This is one of his most mainstream songs and not a personal favorite of mine, but I still love his work.
If you want to be a deep thinker, but you want a banger as well. Then Cole is the go-to for that type of music as well. So is Kendrick Lamar, but we aren't going to talk about him today.
Cole is featured in the song with his fellow Dreamville artist, Bas. In "My N**** Just Made Bail", we see both Bas and Cole giving us bars that make you want to chill with friends and have a few beers. But, Cole being Cole has to always sneak in a conscience line somewhere in the song. He says, "This is for my new chick tryin' get fit, say she too thick. Ain't no such thing as too thick, what you wanna be a toothpick?" Here Cole is talking about body image and how women shouldn't try to conform to the public's idea of sexy. Cole doesn't mind the thick girls. He also does this in "Crooked Smile".
"And they all look like my eyebrows: thick as hell. Love yourself, girl, or nobody will. Though you a woman I don't know how you deal. With all the pressure to look impressive and go out in heels." This whole song shows Cole's compassion towards women and the struggles that they face in this society that is unappreciative of our women.
For my first article for The Odyssey, I wrote on how I view Cole as hip hop's MLK. This is yet another reason why everyone should listen to Cole at least once. He gives us songs that are nothing short of a masterpiece. And I know that me being a huge fan seems that I am being biased. Well, I may be biased towards Cole, but hip-hop fans have to admit that even though Cole doesn't top the charts like the Migos, Drake, Future or Kendrick Lamar, he is still one of the best in the game. One of Cole's shortest songs, "Want You to Fly", is one of my favorites and I will end the article with it.
"God is real and he using me for a bigger purpose. So, f*** the world that would have thought that a n**** worthless. Sometimes I think that these verses can help a person way more than the ones they readin' in churches on days of worship. No disrespect to the Lord and Savior, that ain't just ego. I just observe that them words no longer relate to people. Cause modern times be flooded with dollar signs."
Those lyrics speak to me so well that I find it extremely hard to not listen to this song at least four or five times in a row. He talks about the impact of religion in our world today. He tackles the problems of modern times and hits every word with emphasis and proves that he does not care about the fame or money. He is concerned with making sure humanity, especially those who people forget about it, have a chance to fly and succeed in life.