4 Your Eyez Only
4 Your Eyez Only plunges deep into J. Cole’s soul. You can clearly hear it in his voice—pleading, testifying, on the verge of cracking. At center stage with no featured guests, the North Carolina rapper speaks out on social ills, black lives, and doing the right thing in a world of wrong. The music is settled, filled with jazz touches and strings, allowing the words to become the focus. “Neighbors” and “Change” examine imbalances and tension affecting communities of color. “Foldin Clothes” shows that even benign acts can be a source of joy. The two-part suite “She’s Mine” may be the most important songs he’s written, as Cole finds himself overcome by a strange feeling: hope.