The Enigma That Is Jermaine Lamarr Cole
Double platinum no features, this is the cry all stans will greet you with when you with when you challenge the quality of J Cole’s Latest release 4 your eyez only. In all honesty a feature or two could have increased the calibre of the album, which is dull, uninventive and a definite downgrade from is predecessors. Although Cole has gotten an unfair reputation of making boring music and putting many to sleep, this project has done him no favours in dispelling the rumours. Yes, Cole never made your head nod or booty bounce, but he delivered smooth meaningful lyrics on top of world class production, which made an imprint on many a life. But bar the sentimental value and tributes to James Pickman Jr-Coles slain friend, the album left me feeling unsatisfied and frustrated that the considerable talent that Cole has in his locker wasn’t showcased to full extent. To understand the high expectations what placed on Cole’s shoulders you would first have to fathom the quality of work Cole has provided his fans over the years.
“who dat who dat b***h I got that flame”, this was the spell bounding introduction we were given to mainstream Jermaine Cole on the lead single from his first album, Cole World: The Sideline Story, through the years we have seen the the meteoric rise of Cole, a man who went from waiting outside Jay z’s New York offices to hand him a demo, to eventually getting signed by his idol and being blessed with a prestigious roc-a-fella chain. We have seen the humble Cole go from expressing his admiration for legendary artists such as Nas to battling his new school contemporaries to determine who is the leader of the new school. Cole has blessed his fan base with four hugely successful platinum selling albums along with 3 classic mixtapes, gathering acclaim from both old school and new school hip hop fans.
More recently we have been given a more visual representation of his music as he has released his second album inspired documentary “eyez” a heart-warming, emotional insight into the life of Cole and the struggles he has encountered on his way to the top of the hip hop world. Although highly entertaining, the documentary cannot mask the fact that as a project 4 your eyez only (yes it did go platinum, with no features) can arguably be stated to be the worst work Cole has produced to date, although complex in concept and storytelling of the highest order (as always). Cole didn’t deliver the classic that so many of his fans first anticipated when the album was announced, the classic that many of his early fans since 2007s the come up foresaw in his future. One of the main disappointments of the album was the mellow, uninspiring productions of some of the tracks on the album also the lack of replay value leaves fans wondering how Cole has managed to decline from the heights he hit with 2013’s Born Sinner and the critically acclaimed 2014 Forest Hills Drive. Tracks such as Déjà vu and change indicate with the right production Cole is still at the top of his craft, but with all 3 of his main contemporaries Kendrick Lamar, Drake, Big Sean all dropping projects which can be considered to be of far superior quality to 4 your eyez Only especially in the cases of drake and Kendrick, Cole must now decide whether or not he is ready to once again challenge for the crown as the king of hip hop from the rise of mumble rap to up and coming lyricists such as Joey Bada$$ and Logic. Cole once stated, “I’m just a man of the people” well the people need a classic Cole, so you can finally establish yourself as not only one of the best rappers of your generation, but one of the greatest MC’s to ever grace the Rap game.
4 your eyez only: 3/5 stars
Dele Jimoh @DeleJimzz678