Review Summary: 4 Your Eyez Only is pure, concentrated, condensed, prescription grade, military strength, FDA approved garbage.
J Cole - 4 Your Eyez Only - 0.5/5 (0/10)
J.Cole’s 4 Your Eyez Only is like the “Batman vs Superman” of the hip hop industry. An insane amount of hype, potential, and mainstream reach, but it’s routine at best and almost absurdly terrible at worst. “Batman vs Superman” is just a clumsy stab at recreating the Avengers franchise when, well, you could just watch the Avengers (or the 50 other superhero movies that are better than BvS), and this comparison crosses over into most of J.Cole’s work (specifically this project). Just like “MARTHAAAA”, we have a few moments here that are so unintentionally funny that I almost feel bad about giving this stinkbox a 0.
4 Your Eyez Only opens with arguably the worst produced track: “for whom the bell tolls”, which is so comically bad I was rolling on the floor laughing like when ralphthemoviemaker reviewed Doug Walker’s the Wall. I would have rather had J Cole cover the Metallica song of the same name than hear this donkey dung. The off-beat and disjointed production, combined with Cole’s moaning, sounds like a rejected throwaway from Speedin Bullet 2 Heaven (if Kid Cudi opted for weird, ambient samples instead of acoustic loops). “for whom the bell tolls” sounds like Blueface covered Earl Sweatshirt’s “EAST”, except if Blueface was trying to make a super cliche statement on death and suicide. I welcome the story Cole is trying to convey, but this track was not a good first impression for 4 Your Eyez Only. After this laughingstock, we cut to “Immortal”, which indeed clears the low bar “for whom the bell tolls” sets, but is little more than a rambling, low energy filler track. Cole’s ego pops out on this ballad from nowhere like whack a mole. Here, J Cole unleashes this gem upon us. We were not worthy.
“I’m a black king, black jeans on my black queen,
And her ass fat, too fat for a flat screen…
And I’m going out like Scarface in his last scene,
A legend, what that mean?”
J.Cole somehow manages to be corny, lame, woke, and egotistic in this stanza. You know which other punching bag compared himself to Scarface? Wings of Redemption, and Wings makes for a more believable Scarface because at least if Wings sat on you or threw his PlayStation controller at you it would be deadly. J. Cole is less intimidating than gangster Spongebob get out of here with this Scarface shit. Then we get “Deja Vu”, which starts off like it’s going to be a decent track. For the first time in the album, Cole has an aggressive and enthusiastic delivery on top of a fresh and memorable production. J.Cole has conned me into thinking we are going to get a good track here, until a minute thirty in: the moment we get the awful Tupac impression. This impression is so hokey, on the nose, and poorly mixed that it made me almost piss myself laughing. I cannot believe Cole has already compared himself to both Tupac and Scarface and we’re only three tracks in. What makes this even funnier is that this was the LEAD SINGLE off this track, aka J.Cole’s team thought this was the best the album had to offer to a wide audience. See, this is one of the biggest problems with J. Cole. He tries pretending like he’s not making music for white kids born in 2007 who think Hopsin and Logic are the best rappers of the last decade. Cole puts himself on this pedestal and keeps trying to beg and beg for respect from the rap community by making these asinine comparisons. J.Cole is figuratively screaming in your face, “LOOK AT ME IM TUPAC, FEEL SORRY FOR ME IM TUPAC, IM GOING TO DIE UNEXPECTEDLY AND YOU ALL WILL MISS ME IM TUPAC”. The Tupac comparison was already on the nose with the album being titled “4 Your Eyez Only”, which is a mashup of “All Eyez on Me” and “Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z”, but this is a bit over the top (even just having a Tupac bar would have been less absurd than an entire verse done with a Tupac voice-changer). I looked up this track to confirm that J.Cole did the Tupac impression and it was not an uncredited feature artist/impersonator (he did), and I found something very interesting. The beat for this track has a lot of controversy behind it, as J.Cole has been accused of ripping off Bryson Tiller’s “Exchange” (another lyrical miracle woke rapper) that came out a year before “Deja Vu”. This album never ceases to amaze me in how much of a trainwreck it is.
“She’s mine” parts 1 and 2 are lame Mac Miller bootlegs that don’t fit the album at all. The crying baby sound effects in part 2 are mixed horribly and again I almost started crying again out of laughter when they abruptly came in the track. J. Cole, who is regarded by many as a “lyrical genius”, nearly trips over himself and mispronounces words like “corporation” in a weird, preachy rant. Here Cole spits a verse that is so high IQ that not even Cole’s fanbase can grasp.
“We just like and shit here,
What’s that smell,
Where’s your diaper,
Lay on your back,
Don’t pee right now, or else ill have to get you back”.
I can respect Cole’s songs as a tribute to his daughter, but did we need to get an in-depth verse about him changing dirty diapers? I mean come on Cole what is this garbage. There are better ways to convey your love for your daughter without the poo poo jokes and hackneyed, unfunny lyrics. I almost got an ulcer listening to this. How can this be considered “technical innovation”, or “revolutionary”. Also in this track J Cole brags about how he’s “never done anything this right in his whole life” shut the hell up J Cole you’re the only rapper in the game to combine poop and pee jokes with preachy, edgy, self absorbed trash that’s the only thing you’ve innovated ever. J.Cole is the type of guy to clap for himself after finishing a song live.
Now, this project may be as what J. Cole would call, “a stinky diaper”, but J. Cole does come close to accidentally stumbling into making good music here. I mentioned how I was blue-balled by J.Cole earlier with “Deja Vu”, but there is another example that is just as fascinating, if not better. The production on the intro of “Foldin Clothes” (which J.Cole produced, so I will give him credit here) is fuzzy, distorted, unique, and catchy. It seems like we are going to get a banger of a track, it builds itself up well, and it feels like we are getting to the top of a rollercoaster ride waiting for that adrenaline release. Then, we are dropped from this high point at a million miles per hour like when sinternet got dropped on his head as a kid. A horribly mixed, out of place electric guitar and lame, preachy vocals completely kill the vibe of this song. Give the intro to Jay Electronica, Run the Jewels, Denzel, Rico, Pusha T, Tierra Whack, anyone with talent really, and they would be able to make a classic out of it. J Cole is so unoriginal that he even stole the gimmick of “Foldin Clothes” from Bon Iver’s “GOD”. Some of the lyrics and production, if snipped out of the entire album, aren’t bad. “Ville Mentality” has decent lyrics and message, Cole wondering how long he can survive in this rapidly changing world that seems to be filled with death and struggle. However the energy here is so flat and monotone that it was a clench to stay awake for the 3 minutes of this song’s duration. I appreciate the theme of message of the “She’s Mine ” tracls, but the pretentious, overdramatic production and rejected Swimming/Kids See Ghosts/My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy type beats make it unbearable. If you cobbled together a track with the lyrics of “Ville Mentality”, a better production behind “Foldin Clothes”, and the first 90 seconds of “Deja Vu”, you’d have a J.Cole track that is as good as the obnoxious stans make Cole out to be. However, none of this compares to the final track of the album, the magnum opus of a magnificent disaster known as “4 Your Eyez Only”.
Before the I heard the final track of this album, I would have given 4 Your Eyez Only a 1.5 or a 2 out of 5. As dogshit as this project is, J. Cole clearly has put some effort into this record and 4 Your Eyez Only has at least a little bit of thematic complexity – Cole’s sincere love for his daughter and his desire to keep her safe as she grows up in an uncertain and unstable world, as well as Cole himself feeling on the edge and not knowing when he is going to die. Then, we get the shit-tornado known as “4 Your Eyez Only”. On top of the most generic, forgettable, cookie cutter beat, Cole presents his preachiest and most demeaning lyrics yet. If you thought J. Cole wasn’t already too in your face with presenting the themes of this record to the listener, this song takes it up to 11. Cole must think his “high IQ” fans are fucking braindead because he straight up just explains why he made the album and goes in depth explaining each part of the album. Cole clarifies,
You probably grown now so this song'll hit you
If you hearing this, unfortunately means
That I'm no longer with you in the physical
Not even sure if I believe in God but because you still alive
He got me praying that the spiritual is real
So I can be a part of you still, my pops was killed too
So I know how part of you feels…”
“for your eyes only , do you understand, for your eyes only, do you understand me?” x8
SPOILER ALERT THIS ALBUM IS MEANT FOR HIS DAUGHTER TO LISTEN TO IN THE EVENT THAT J COLE DIES (like Tupac) IF IT ISNT ALREADY INCREDIBLY OBVIOUS. THIS IS NOT WOKE OR CREATIVE. GET OVER YOURSELF. The last track is fucking ass and it's J. Cole explaining the entire concept, theme, and point of this garbage heap to his dicksucking, 12 year old woke fanbase. Minus five stars.
I think J.Cole’s biggest problem is that he’s not just cliche and bland, but it’s the faux-intellectualist, elitist mongobongo that both he and his fanbase exudes. Cole’s best trait is being a storyteller and having an overall theme/message across his projects, but he fails to do this with any subtlety, uniqueness, or intrigue. J.Cole stans who dismiss criticism of Cole being boring and unenergetic as “you just don’t like lowkey, mellowed out storytelling rap” have likely never listened to MF Doom, and certainly never even heard of Big L or Dr. Octagon. Cole doesn’t help at all in this regard as he calls himself a legend and compares himself to Tupac, which his fans happily slop up like pigs. 2pac was such a versatile artist, he could make boom-bap gangsta anthems, story-based clinics, sexy R&B romps, and down to earth humble confessions and prayers of redemption. J-Cole has attempted to do all of the above and it just comes off like a dull rip off of something that’s been done to death already. Yes, you can like both J Cole and MF Doom or 2Pac but it’s a gigantic reach to say that Cole has done anything near Doom or Pac, and it doesn’t make this album not a pile of shit. Some stans will say it’s not fair to compare Cole to Doom or Pac, well when Cole starts creating music that isn’t a complete knockoff of these artists, let me know and I will stop making these comparisons. J.Cole also has this habit of wanting attention and stuntin the #WOKE, writing diss tracks on artists like Kanye, Pusha T, noname, even Lil Pump of all people. Cole’s reasoning for these tracks is to make a pretentious, whiny “statement about the hip hop genre”, and then he says “let’s squash the beef I can’t deal with drama” before these artists even get a chance to respond to Cole’s debauchery. The noname one in particular was a goddamn embarrassing clownshow on all fronts and I could write a separate interview about that and how much of a cookie puss J.Cole is. While Cole himself is painfully dull, J. Cole’s rabid fanbase, on the other hand, is widely known for being unbearable and are the reason Cole is so overrated. This fanbase makes the Five Nights at Freddy’s community look like political geniuses. J. Cole fans try to defend this album by saying “J. Cole wrote and produced 4 Your Eyez Only by himself no features”, as if it makes this album any less of a one-note embarrassment. In fact it makes it worse because J. Cole can’t blame anyone else for how boring this project is. This is the same crowd that says “To be fair, you need to be extremely intelligent to understand J. Cole”, when he is, in fact, the most dumbed-down, repetitive, accessible rapper in the game.
If J.Cole is the only hip hop artist you’ve ever listened to, I guess I could see why you like him. Let’s be real though the only good thing J.Cole has done for this industry is give JID and EarthGang a spotlight. Cole has made some okay-ish albums like Born Sinner but this is the one I don’t understand the love for. Even if you’re a snarky ass Cole stan and you want to shit on my review and desperately cling to J. Cole’s small list of not bad projects, you have to admit this is Cole’s weakest album. Double platinum no features is a cherry picked stat that doesn’t mean fuck all in a world where “Gucci Gang” and “Old Town Road” can smash records for Billboard top songs. I feel like if Cole went experimental or worked with some different artists outside his comfort zone or just dropped the hokey gimmicks like the Tupac voice and poop jokes I’d enjoy him more. Jeramine Cole is too inconsistent, too cliche, and too unremarkable in a sea of saturated rappers for me to like him or his music. Several times in this album Cole tries to force a woke statement or pen a “funny” bar, but it just comes off as “F the Prom” level cringe. 4 Your Eyez Only is a perfect summation of everything wrong with J. Cole.
edit: because some people have dung for brains I originally gave this a 1/10 then I learned that I could make it a .5 so I did but I really think the album is a 0 out of 10 0.5 is the lowest I could rate it on sputnik.