J. Cole’s Dreamville partnered with HBO to bring us what some are referring to as a documentary, 4 Your Eyez Only. The film premiered on Saturday, April 15th and follows Jermaine to Baton Rouge, Atlanta, Ferguson, Mo., and Jonesboro his father’s hometown. The film accompanies his latest music project of the same name and includes visuals for each song within the fifty-five minute film. Fresh off of the heels of the murder of Mike Brown J. Cole visits the street where Brown’s body laid for hours before being taken to the hospital. Scenes show Cole speaking with local residents and debating on what they can do to create change or if they could do it all. Keeping the viewer in the moment with him J. Cole examines politics, race, and the disadvantages experienced by the Black community as a result of poor economics. J. Cole is unlike many if not all today’s current Rappers or Emcees in that he wears his heart on his sleeve. Cole cares about the well-being of the community and it shows through his music and it is clearly on display in this visual project.
Although the album was released in December of 2016 J. Cole felt compelled to still share the documentary with us even though it wasn’t released until only recently. Every shot is a precursor to the song that was based off of the feelings that Cole experienced during those moments. You may not want to feel those feelings of despair or hopelessness but we have to remember that there is always a bigger picture. Depicting positive interactions between Black fathers and their daughter coincide with the overall context of the album as we all know it was dedicated to the daughter of a close friend of Coles who is currently incarcerated. The title was conveyed and was indeed for our eyes only. This is a great film to watch with your young person(s) or in a classroom just to get a perspective on third country and the direction we are going as a community.
Visual accompaniments seem to be the standard since Beyoncé’s self-titled project. For an emcee like to J. Cole to use his platform to shine a light on others is commendable. It shows that Hip Hop has a heart and it is Jermaine Cole. These types of projects need our support because this could lead to similar projects from other artists. Especially for an artist like J. Cole who is smart enough to keep his private life private but able to provide something tangible to his fans that gives us a glimpse into a mans’ most personal space, his mind. I encourage all to watch this film on whatever platform you have available as it is currently replaying on HBO and is available on the HBO NOW & HBO GO apps as well as YouTube. You can watch film in its entirety below.