BOOOOYYYY, WAS i WRONG….

Ok. A’ight. i was buggin’, i was buggin’. 4 Your Eyez Only is quite tight, actually.

On my current, just-now-as-i-write fourth full listen, i’m feeling like this album picked up right where 2014 Forest Hills Drive left off, sound-wise; steering into more focus on the use of the instruments. And, Cole used his voice well, and in various ways to project his messages way more often this time around. There’s flows on this shit that i’m just now hearing from Cole—and of course the familiar here & there; those who know, know—he might just be introducing us to newer things. A modern version of ‘Simba’ could be on the way—so, i’m more than happy if it’s what we’re getting from now on.

It’s all going to sound like a biased-flip-floppin’-back-to-being-a-fan-who-would-of-course-like-it take on the project, i know. But genuinely, i’ll be the first to admit the album is still far from perfect. However, for the simple fact that this is what Cole, his team, and a bunch of talented musicians could craft, in what i understand, to my knowledge, to be a short space of time (mainly over the summer, according to Elite), i give a bly and applaud the album for being what it is. There is room for improvement, much like his last album… but it really is what it is—a complete project where he’s said what he’s had to say, that, honestly can’t be faulted, since it’s just solely spoken from the heart.

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Nice to know that live instrumentation is back—in the forefront of hip-hop—and now that it is, hopefully it stays; because, to me, the incorporation of it seems really beneficial to the evolution of the music that’s to be put together in the future, and has already been proven to be, as shown in recent compositions (2015—present), and as i spoke on in my thoughts on Black America Again, Common’s twelfth studio album. This “trend”—which really shouldn’t be one, or as i shluldnt be referring to as one, albeit—is the best thing to happen in years, in my opinion; and i stand behind that statement, firmly.

Ari Lennox, you did your thing on “Change”—you star. Glad that Cole gave her the spotlight and let her subtly shine like that, contributing a beautiful light; a ray-of-sunshine for an additional to the song. The song hit me even harder, hearing “that boy was 22,” too—the age that i would turn a day later, following the album’s drop-date. And while on subject, i think that cut not only shows, but actually boasts Cole’s most musical progression the highest degree, and to date—like, really… Electric Lady Studios did you some good, ‘maine. This is also the best mixed-down album from Cole i’ve listened to. So, big up Juro “Mez” Davis. The studying of ‘the loudness war’ aided, complemented and catered to the quality of each second of the LP—so, thank goodness that Cole took heed to the sentiment. It made, again, for a great listening, and only seems to grow on me each in which i listen now, and the rapping over the instrumentals is so smooth, too. Respect to J for sticking to his word on Eyez; aware of his platform and not taking for granted that he has it, but may never again one day. There is no shit for the radio on this one. This ain’t nothin’ for the radio.

“This for the ones that listen to me on some faithful shit. i’m on some thankful shit.”

It’s crazy to think how and that i originally thought this album lacked direction on first listen. Been re-taught a lesson: never judge the music off of a first listen. The more i listen to this effort, i realize he’s finally departing from past sounds, but forever in embrace of past Cole, as much as he continues to move forward—i was silly to think this was the ‘same old’ Cole.

THIS IS THE PART THAT THE STANS SKIYUP!

The unfortunate part about 4YEO—in fact, perhaps thee most sad aspect of the LP—is “Déjà Vu.” Though i could argue it, i have no place to really say whether the track fit [in-with] the clear soundscape carried prominently within the space of the ten tracks. The obvious problem and elephant in the room that exists here—at least to my listening experience, though i’m sure plenty of people who know about TRAPSOUL can relate, would agree and be willing to openly back me up on this one—is that beat.

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The way in which “Swing My Way” was sampled—originally by Boi-1da & Vinylz, not Foreign Teck (no shade, just truth)—on track 3 of the LP (despite being the original and father, if you will, to the succeeding-but-first-leaked-and-heard-of, “Exchange” by Bryson Tiller), was so similar to the latter, that it automatically overshadowed Cole’s track. It’s almost like it wasn’t even given a chance… it had no chance—not one. As soon as the song starts and that beat drops. Damn. The vibe the album began with and would follow up after it was ruined for a moment (for my unliking, that is, anyway).

Guess i can bear the song, whether i select it to play, or if it comes on—it’s not a bad song! But au contraire, my nigga—just as @i_makebeats tweeted the same notion that i’m about to mention… i wish Cole, Boi-1da and Vinylz could have just cooked up another one, because it’s not like they aren’t more than capable of doing that (and probably even in their sleep, too—Cole, you’ll like this one)—even though Cole dropped that duuuttty Pac-esque hook on it (YO! and on “Immortal,” too, which, btw, i can’t wait to hear in the whip—same way as i couldn’t with “A Tale of 2 Citiez.”

The title track “4 Your Eyez Only” stands candidly reminiscent of “Sing About Me, i’m Dying of Thirst.” But also, next to the lyrical style i last remember receiving from Cole on a cut such as “Runaway” on Born Sinner, it reminded me of Nas. Now, the “J. Cole—Nas” comparisons been relentlessly thrown out over the years—it’s common knowledge, and Cole hasn’t exactly shied from or been non-vocal in stating his influences during his career so far; probably not anytime soon either (sans “False Prophets”)—but this time around, it couldn’t be more potent in how he channeled Esco; from the storytelling to the more minimalist beats, allowing the words more room to breathe and for the listeners’ ears to catch onto… i don’t think he’s really done this as consistently since Friday Night Lights, to where it was so noticeable that it was one of his focuses to devote himself to.

This all been said… i really would love to hear what was or is to be done with all those chords and riffs as heard in the documentary released [on TIDAL] by Dreamville, a week before the album. There’s gotta be a place for some of those joints, surely. Hope they find a home that’s accessible to the public… sorta like 2014 FHD, Fayetteville, NC—LOL.

Happy for the fact that i was able to and can now say i’ve gotten past the stupid critical stage of listening i was in on my first hearing of the album straight after i got back from a night out (maybe the clubbing did it to me—just maybe). So yeah—now i can just put the ting on shuffle, enjoy, and resume with learning all of the lyrics off-by-heart. State-the-obvious, why don’t i (, everybody, their Mom & Nan)? The switch (even if it is like a continuation sound wise, although a little more risky) from FHD to 4YEO, can be likened to GKMC to TPAB, i suppose—in the sense that [what K. Dot did with] TPAB might just have been easier on the ears—even though it wasn’t—purely because it was just that musically exquisite that it was hard for a fan of quality music to deny. Cole maybe doesn’t have that quite have that on lock and in his pock’ just yet—he lacks that. Has the ability to pull it out the bag, though—if he can focus on that aspect.

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But what i’m even more happy about… what’s really important here… is that i believe it’s now time, after much speculation, and now that Cole is moving more forward towards a sound where he could easily coexist with Kendrick [Lamar] on, bringing only what i could imagine to be ‘autiful, rewarding results. Oh, and even potential collaborations with the likes of Anderson .Paak (who you should know that i really admire the muzikále work of)—one that i’ve been silently hoping for—and The Internet (i mean, just listen to Steven Lacy’s background vocals AND bass guitar on “Foldin Clothes” (a.k.a. the “St. Tropes” of this joint)—that groove would make late ‘90s D’Angelo & Questlove? super proud with a smile on their faces. Passing with flying colours, mate. J. Cole on jazzy beats, is a fit. Don’t make me have seizures, dawg—please. Like i said, ELS done had that effect on heem. Erykah Badu’s magick was left there in the presence of the premises. Aura all up in deyair.

With 4 Your Eyez Only, Cole now joins the 2016 class of Best Grower LPs, sitting alongside [fellow inductees]: Atrocity Exhibition (Danny Brown), Blank Face LP (ScHoolboy Q), and The Healing Component (Mick Jenkins).

Don’t think Cole has yet fully nailed it, and still is to create that project that is fully focused and not missing a step in the direction towards delivering whatever story or theme that it may be. A lot left to do, but at the same time—not.  Hopefully not for long, at all. Will continue listening of course. Maybe this one was  just him getting it out of his system and next time he’ll get it right as a  whole—Lord Willing. Less weak spots and flaws. Would be a shame for him not to; and to see him walk away with the rest of so much talent not shared with the world, with all that he has to offer.

Still a Cole World 😈🌍😇

Album is available now on Amazon Music, Apple Music/iTunes, Google Play Music, Spotify, and in stores (Best Buy, Target for US | HMV this Friday for UK, as far i know)—aouwlahdat.

// All photos captured by Anthony Supreme, and courtesy of anthony-supreme.tumblr.com

a REAL BLACK QUEEN.

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i guess that 2016 is the year where we see a lot of legends like PRINCE and this one go.

full hail for the LEGENDARY. respect for any like her.

it’s actually kinda saddening, because i was thinking this morning about ‘what if Parents ever died before me? would i really get to see her again? is it all just a matter of faith?’ plus it’s my Mom’s birthday tomorrow (as I’ve just remembered again and put this part in as an edit at 22:06/07 on 03.05.2016). 20 years between you & your son. so with that fresh in mind, i pray that, yeah, hopefully there is a heaven for you to be reunited with Pac again.

for your wide span of contribution; for birthing your son. so… i gotta:

THANK YOU.

R.I.P. AFENI SHAKUR. a Black Panther; a Philanthropist, and most of all: a smart, strong woman. 

YOUR PACE

• my perspective on how the driven ideology of perfection is hurting the human race

this brand new 27-minute [sound] clip — recorded earlier on tonight — came from an impulse of mine at the time. my speakings were built around my direct thoughts on an ideology that I cite as irrational-rooted: “perfection.”

the reason I chose to speak on it, is because I believe that the idea of perfection, for such a long time now, has dragged people away from what their own ways of life truly are. we all have the same 24/7 — that’s true… but I still think our lifestyles are different; different things apply to our individual paths, as no one [path] is the same as the next. for me to judge your decisions makes no sense for starters; and for me to even grasp what you’re getting at, I’d more than likely have to be: you.

in the speaking, I touch on why I feel it’s important to stay moving at your own pace and that we as a people will all do things at certain, given times. of course, I’ve shared how I want to inspire more people to think for themselves and to follow their soul’s trail; making the choice to be and stay righteous; positive whilst/throughout doing so — that’s just my personal doctrine, though.

being on the topic that I was, I also delved into how I think buying into something as unrealistic as perfection is affecting the way we as people view not only ourselves but others around us, as we expect so much from the next person, all because of how ideas such as perfection have driven us to form the highest of standards, yet ironically, when we look in the mirror, we think so low of ourselves. thatter (the latter) alone reminds me that it’s definitely time to let go of this high regard we hold each other to, and to learn to respect one another as just humans who may be different and have different views of the world, but share the one we only have.

one.

Update (10/4/16 on Sunday afternoon):

I came across a video of Iskra Lawrence on my fb newsfeed that a friend had shared, and it led to me visiting her IG page. so I’m checking through her grid and there was one tab I left open overnight that had a picture of her that I found quite pleasing. it must have been my subconscious, because the caption she wrote along with the photo linked diRECTLY to what I spoke about. thought I’d just share it in this post. made sense.

✨🌴 memories from CR.. I feel like many of us go through years of battling with ourselves. Struggling because society has given us such an unrealistic, narrow minded beauty ideal. But perfection doesn't exist. The best we can do is be unapologetically ourselves. 🌟I have been so humbled by all your support. I will do my best to spread as much positivity as I can through my "platform". I feel responsible to be as real as possible as I struggled with my body as a teen and felt like I had to change to look like the model I dreamt of being. When actually I was perfectly imperfect just the way I am. And so are you. ✨💕 #iskralawrence #everyBODYisbeautiful there's nothing wrong with cellulite, stretch marks, rolls, back fat anything!🐯🐯⚡️⚡️ no one needs retouching because the real you is sexy wearing @aerie #waybackwednesday

A post shared by i s k r a (@iskra) on

but YES, let me not give it all away. and so, if you do get a spare 30 secs… or mins, please lend your ears to my most recent recording — I’ll just call it “Your Pace” for short now. all listens are appreciated, and all comments are welcome anyway. the rest of my clips are also all there on my official Soundcloud page ‘LSNCLR,’ so go ScoPeep those too if you haven’t already, and join & follow the campaign (#CHANGEOFCONDITIONS). keep spreading the positive and most-powerful vibrations.

BONUS / P.S. can anybody tell me how a white-breaded sandwich filled with the combo of: peanut butter, strawberry jam, chopped banana and seeds somehow, somewhat and in some way sorta captures and recreates the fine essence of what I recall chocolate spread to taste like, please?

LOVE

The Universe feels you…

• Salute to Gilly for the exchange of knowledge earlier on today — crazy how that happened all because of some crystals… We both know synchronicity is far from a joke, and neither is this layered, multi-dimensional universe that we live in on a physical-illuzed level; where time is nothing but sheer man-made and all · Also, so long to Kate — who’ll be more than dearly missed; and if I don’t ever work a job again… or if I do, I think she’ll forever be the best person I worked with ·

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“Every time I’m down, the universe leads me to what I need to bring me back up. Thank you, Universe.” 

Jam to this ⇑ for me one time and get crafty on this young Friday-night-soon-coming-as-Saturday-morning · No Doubt! •

Great. But you know what I think would be greater…

Kendrick. Thank you for the music as always. Blessing us with the roawr from the core. As you gain more fans and lose a few here and there who just can’t get with the continuous and ever-happening sound-departures — from early K. Dot on C4 and Kendrick Lamar EP, and(O)verly Dedicated, to Section.80, then again to good kid, m.A.A.d. city, and AGAAAIN to To Pimp A Butterfly — I’d rather praise the purity and untouched~ness of the latest release (untitled unmastered). Seems like we’re forever going to seen the same discussion that Jigga fans and Kanye fans (“day-ones” and laters) be having about the change of the sound directions from one album to the next. Who cares though? You really ain’t gotta listen. Nothing wrong with not liking the music from an artist you love. It’s inevitable the music is gonna miss you rather than hit when it changes up to what you’re not used to, or when an artist is experimenting.

Could easily be handed your favourite food every day, but the moment ya Momma wanna introduce you to an experiment she’s been cooking up in the kitchen; and even though you might not like it – the respect given to her for trying is way more to be highlighted.

I’ve just always had more respect for the attempt. Whether it works for you or not is a mystery to be discovered, but music is going to be music. I’m inspired by the nature of it – motivates me to do me in whatever I do; and acts as a constant reminder that I gotta let it flow < and that ridere is what I love about the all-over-the-placeness in some tracks drawn by the live instrumentation; it drives me to a place where I can be free of perfection, or tried-for perfection at least in many scenaruos I see and sense with music and life in general. I’m happy that I know some of what Kendrick was up to during the process of making TPAB now really. So don’t diss this when it was probably primarily responsible for the so-called “masterpiece” that you claim; that is TPAB; that you love so much.

NOW, anyway and back to my reasoning for this log… wouldn’t it be great to hear your dream collaborations?

Mine? In this case speaking about Kendrick.

So, I’m bumpin’ the new compilation of the untitled records (that Cee-Lo feature was niiice, and Kaseem, that yo son producing?! explanenlighten me, please) and can’t help my thoughts going back to when I heard To Pimp A Butterfly, right… all that’s swilling in my brain is one question: WHERE DA FRIGGIN’ D’ANGELO & KENDRICK TRACK ALREADY?! Dot, you’re hurting me.. you too, dawg.

If I had it my way and could piece together a musical orgy ©, I’d have to have it go a lil’ sum like deeyuws (i’MA break it down into song structure rather than just the artists on it):

Prod. Sounwave, Flying Lotus, Terrace Martin, Timbaland, Dr. Dre, James Poyser (add.), Pharrell (add.), Raphael Saadiq, (add.), Madlib (sampling), Ryan Leslie & Q-Tip (keys), Questlove? (drums), & Dev Hynes (guitar)

Intro: Common & Missy Elliott (16-bar spoken word… don’t ask. Missdemeanor, mate – you don’t KNOW)

Beat switch (yes, this early on) and it drops… haaauurddd

Verse 1: Kendrick Lamar, Mos Def, Method Man & Redman (mixed written from all three 24 tough bar-for-barz, no playing with it)

Funky smoove groovy Bridge (dey gets buzy): Chance The Rapper & Kanye West (Janelle Monae, background vocals)

Verse 2 (they get all gosp’hetto or sum sh’): Alicia Keys,  Jazmine Sullivan & Jill Scott

Verse 3: D’Angelo, Bilal & Maxwell (D’Angelo takes it from the end of the last verse and goes into a classic-style D’Angelo mumbling verse, Bilal scats, then Maxwell comes in where he switches the gears up towards the end and just croons to get the ladies wet)

Beat switch again (dance breakdown, prod. Pharrell, Saadiq & Timbo, who also ad-libs)

Hook 2: Janet Jackson & Tinashe (The Weeknd, background vocals)

(claps and drums with snares too also)

Outro (dis is da climax now, where everyone just jumps in one by one and it synchronizes in the right way through evened out~overlapping layers and it just gets mad wild): Erykah Badu & Chrisette Michele (w/ Frank Ocean & James Fauntleroy in the background harmonizing) sing light vocals to start it off and carries on throughout until end when Tyler, the Creator ends the track with a  couple silly-ass lines, meanwhile Pusha T, Earl Sweatshirt & YG come with two straight hard bars, as A$AP Ferg drops slight noisy ad-libs and Miguel comes in doin’ those wild screams, and then Big K.R.I.T. & Freddie Gibbs come with a straight aggressive melodic two bars, James Fauntleroy (harmonizes), Miguel (doin’ those wild screams). Tyler, the Creator ends the track with a couple lines.

A bit tew much for you, raaight?

Yeah, so that’s what a fantasy is, to those who don’t know. Hope you understand it. If not, den fukarf.

Jokes on you if you think the tags might hurt the fiews I get. EVERYBODY GETS A HASHTAG! HarrHa *opera octave voice if I could reach it.*

 

Respect Overcomes All

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I’ve now got that much more respect for Tori [Kelly] after that show I attended at the O2 Institute, Birmingham with my Dad little sister. When an artist has a direct connection/interaction with the fans like THAT, as well as just pure talent, it’s no wonder as to why one is both graced and left with nothing but long applause and cheers like flowers brought. Some artists clearly don’t need to chart high with singles. Some artists are going to blossom with their fanbase and sound, and you can see it.

I see Tori becoming one of the biggest soon; and if not, then she’s a hit with those who know. Her key is being humble, the gift of such vocals, and dedication. So focused on stage and all-round mind-blowing along with her incredible band to back, also.

The way she can make people feel positive is something special, and I felt that in the air. She deserves all this success; and to see somebody humble staying humble is a b.o.f.a. Never was the biggest fan of pop music, but she’s the #1 Popstar in the world to me, by a landslide – and the fact that she takes pride in delivering quality, being on time, etc. is all the more reason to pay her that respect.

May her smile never be broken.

P.S. Big up to Samm Henshaw and his band – wizzowow, they put on easily one the best supporting act performance I’ve seen. Checking out his music A.S.A.P. What a night. Just had a great time. Heavy to finally have a show where I wasn’t waiting all night, too.

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Tori, I’ll marry you – on everything. One day. Smile is really everything.

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“BANTER”

I just saw that it’s Anti-Bullying week, so it was fitting to write something quick.

“Bullying” ain’t a joke, yo.

I think that it’s something taken a bit too lightly by many folk; and obliviously so. Bullying to me, is something that we don’t pay enough mind or attention to until it really gets serious; to a point where somebody is really hurt. It comes in many shapes and forms, that, it can be easily masqueraded – which is why I said that it seems to be taken so lightly.

Is it that a clear definition clearly hasn’t been established enough for people to know when they’re one and doing unto one (bullying); is it a complex within that resides with a past of troubles, no matter what the multitude of such, be it ‘I was once bullied,’ or ‘I was never loved.’ It can get deep.

I do think that it’s important we don’t continue to ignore signs or the action itself taking place; however that be. To not stay ignorant to such a thing. Learn if you weren’t taught.

Seen before my very eyes, I know when it’s clearly not “banter,” and certainly probably isn’t to many.

To be sensitive of another’s feelings or existence (whatever you wish to call it) makes you no weaker. It’s the having the consideration for the next person. Don’t beat down on them – please.

Like I said: it really ain’t a joke.

LSNCLR