My Favorite Album of 2017: 4 Your Eyez Only – J. Cole

Beautiful, insightful and heart breaking are three words I would use to describe J Cole’s best album 4 Your Eyez Only. Paralleling his life with that of his late friend, Cole tells a story which explores the immense societal burden that is placed on the black man and the realities of being born into a system that will never benefit the Black American.

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It doesn’t surprise me that an album that fully recognizes the Black struggle, touches on mass incarceration and institutionalization has gone unnoticed by The Grammys. The awards show found this conversation in Kendrick Lamar (whom I love) and are prompt to nominate the rapper for each one of his albums. Does this committee fully understand the words of Kendrick and Cole? Probably not. I fully believe the Grammy committee nominates Kendrick for his growing mass appeal which, consequently, brings more ratings and money to their show. Of course an album like 4 Your Eyez Only which is far from a cash grab, wasn’t made for mass appeal but created in honour of another human being’s life would be glanced over by the ‘money driven, viewer hungry Grammy Awards Show.

As long as I live, I will not let a project as touching and as moving as 4 Your Eyez Only fade away from human memory. It’s a story about love, pain, and life. It is undeniably my favorite album of 2017.

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À Bout de Souffle [Song of the Week #3]

Jean-Luc Godard’s A Bout De Souffle, or Breathless in English, was my introduction to him and the French New Wave. To my eyes at the time, the handheld camera work, unique editing, and stylistic dialogue of this era of cinema was so completely foreign to me. What really stuck with me after watching this film was the song heard above. It’s sad and pensive but somehow makes me a little happy. I was on the road for a long time last week and had time to think a lot. For some reason I couldn’t help but hum this  song the entire journey. To describe it best I can, this song makes me feel like it’s a Sunday morning, or it’s raining outside. It’s like the ringtone that corresponds with your mind when you just want to think to yourself. I just can’t get enough of it.

Anziety- Logic [Song of the Week #2]

Logic isn’t just one of my favorite rappers/artist ever, but one of my favorite people ever. Born as Sir Robert Bryson Hall III, Logic grew up in Gaithersburg, Maryland where drugs, crime and gang life where all apparent in his household. With an abusive mother and  an absent father who was addicted to crack, Logic found an escape through rap music. The list of all the terrible things he witnessed is endless, yet he came out as a well spoken, inspirational figure who represents Peace, Love and Positivity. He never really made music that explicitly boosted the morale of people but unintentionally has changed the lives of so many, including myself. In his third studio album Everybody, Logic raps at the perspective of multiple people aiming his targeted audience at, well, Everybody! No song resonated with me as much as Anziety, yes Anziety not Anxiety, where Logic not only raps for sufferers of the disorder but at the perspective of the disorder as well. 

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Song of the Week #1

Song of the Week is something new I want to start on 4therace where every week I’ll share one song that I couldn’t get out of my head for the past seven days. With the intentions to reach out to other music lovers and possibly introduce readers to genres they aren’t familiar with, I hope to start some music based discussions on my blog.

So, for my first ever Song of the Week I would like to introduce the “Main Title” in Clint Eastwood’s film Changeling.

Changeling opens with a black and white shot overlooking a 1928 Los Angeles suburb. As colour slowly swells the screen, the brass and piano of Eastwood’s score began to cry evoking the feel of an old noir film. For a story about a single Mother’s desperate search for her only son, the “Main Title” sets the tone of the film perfectly. It’s a song that I now listen to when I write, relax, am feeling pensive, or want to unwind.

P.S. Go watch Changeling.