Six months ago, rumors were swirling about J.Cole taking a break from rapping. Fast forward to April 7, 2017 and Cole’s new album, 4 Your Eyez Only, is certified platinum. Following 2014 Forest Hills Drive, it’s his second straight album to go platinum with no features. It’s a big deal. Before Cole, the last hip-hop artist who had an album go platinum with no guest feature was Vanilla Ice with To the Extreme in 1990.
In October of 2016, Cole declared to his audience at a live concert that it was the last show he was doing for a long time. This sent the public into a frenzy, wondering why the Fayetteville rapper was taking a break after the major success of his previous album. Then, dropped out of the blue on December 1 2016, a pre-order of 4 Your Eyez Only was made available on the iTunes store with the release date of December 9. Cole was keeping the album under wraps, and at the time it was released to the public, only seven people had heard the whole album. His strategy turned out to be a success with the public excitement exploding over social media due to the surprise. Between December 7 and December 19, there were 2.7 millions tweets about J.Cole and his new album.
Cole’s new album has garnered mostly positive reviews. Most critics praised Cole for his raw emotion and storytelling ability. The album debuted at No.1 on the Billboard 200 chart, and sold over 363,000 copies in its first week. The ten songs on the album follow a young man who goes from poverty and selling drugs to falling in love and starting a family. In the end it’s revealed that the man has died and the album was created for his daughter to listen to after he’s gone. Many speculated about the inspiration for Cole’s heartbreaking story. It has been confirmed by a source close to Dreamville, Cole’s record label, that the album is about one of Cole’s real life friends.
Back to back platinum albums is an incredible accomplishment, and fans should be excited to learn that Cole has planned a worldwide tour through all of 2017. He also has a HBO Documentary coming out on April 15 titled “J.Cole: 4 Your Eyez Only.” The documentary was directed by Cole and Scott Lazer. It explores the struggles of lower-income residents in Louisiana, Georgia, Ferguson, Missouri, Arkansas, and his hometown of Fayetteville, North Carolina.