2016 has been a mental and emotional rollercoaster for numerous groups of people. From people of color to the immigrants, women, and the LGBTQ+ community, there is no denying that America hasn’t been this vulnerable in a long time. Social issues have peaked interest and hate crimes have risen. But these acts of discrimination, however, are no stranger to the African-American community.
With the timing right, Jermaine Cole took it in his own hands to give his two cents in what he knows best. When J. Cole dropped his fourth Billboard 200-topping album, 4 Your Eyez Only, earlier this month, the “platinum with no features” rapper proved his growth as an artist turning his new work into a musical masterpiece highlighting the oppression of a black man living in the ghetto. Mixing his personal anecdotes to create a fictional character based on the death of a friend, Cole has concocted a new creative conduit for pushing his craft forward.
As race takes on a majority of the album’s theme, Daily Emerald best summarized the album as a “track-by-track journey of a black man’s experience of growing up in our nation, from encountering ghetto violence at a young age, suffering inescapable racial prejudices in real life and in the media and dealing with death and mortality.”