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.
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.