It's Cole's World: Open Letter
"Let me slow it down, dumb it down, y'all warned. The son came up out that womb, yo, a star is born. If real recognize real, y'all are foreign." This was my motto in school. You had me walking around LSU feeling like I was an exception to the rule. Deemed cool by all my peers, but I never wanted to be apart of the cool. Always challenging the world and what they said I should be. Always wondered why the world didn't see the true potential within me. Wanting to impact the world without the fame. Realizing that they set this life up to be a big game. This big game known as the American Dream. "White folks got the road to success mapped and that's all good, but why don't blacks got that same atlas? I asked the same question, a million ways and it seems like I had prayed for a million days." These lines to me were the biggest part of your Come Up. Then you came with "Lights Please" for the Warm Up. Reminding me of my struggles with intimacy because how he claim to love when he don't even care to know me? Know my thoughts or my views about the unspoken things. He was just focused on trying to please me like the regular girls who just chase a ring. So I used to get away by listening to "Get Away," hollering "good God what a day!"
As you can see, I've been peeping you, but you stole my heart when you least knew. "Beautiful Bliss" came through and wrapped me up. With that one verse, you solidified me as a fan. I can't even choose one because every punch line had me hyped like I knew you. Like I watched you struggle through the come up. Proud like I grew with you. From that one verse, I knew you would change the game. And you did! Don't know if I would have made it through months of a bad breakup if it wasn't for "You Got It." That instantly became my fav from you. It gave me the confidence to put a few of them on "In The Morning." Lol! But you continued to impress me from your production on "HiiiPoWeR" to your delivery on "Cole World: The Sideline Story." These songs were more commercial than I knew you to be, but you wanted the fame and to make a name and because of this, they noticed you. I can't front like I was even disappointed because you told my story with "Breakdown."
Your words in that song helped me to forgive my father and allowed us to mend our relationship. I'll forever be grateful to you for that. Born Sinner, as a whole, wasn't one of my top albums and it made me wonder if you would ever get back to the greatness that I knew you to be. At that time, you were way too commercial for me. So at first listen to "2014 Forest Hills Drive," I was in tears. You was back! The production was insane! From the samples, the messages, your storytelling and singing, I was overwhelmed with emotions. Then you solidified it with "Note to Self." Your excitement and genuineness, alone, on that track, made you the greatest.
And now we're here with "4 Your Eyez Only" a story told from two parallel point of views (POVs), yours and James. Starting with a feeling of hopelessness from dealing with life's struggles, you begin to describe the two paths y'all took. Yours starting with a pocket full of hope, his full of dope. James grew up being a street nigga while you was the kid fighting to remain cool while escaping the streets. Being able to see the path you could have taken, the one the world tried to force upon you, you chose to chase your dream. You met your girl, feel in love, cried out for change, moved to better neighborhoods, learned what it meant to truly love your wife, and faced the challenges of fatherhood. James on the other hand was living the life of a hood king; thriving in the lifestyle you were trying to escape. He was chasing fast money, getting women, dodging bullets, having a baby, and living out his demise. You end the album by concluding Jame's story. In a letter to his daughter, you're challenged to tell a story of a man who was living the worst american dream. "Took me two felonies to see the trap this crooked ass system set for me." A system set up to crush Blacks while elevating whites. Noting how seeing death and taking on the family business at a young age made him "bad" in every way imaginable, but as a father, he loved.
I closely relate to your POV. Grew up in New Orleans and was faced with everything the streets wanted me to be. Had a mother who fought hard to show me better and encourage great things, but I always had my ways of finding my path back to things and people who didn't have that choice. It caused me to see a lot of things she tried to protect me from. But I made it out with a few scrapes and bruises. I see this world for what it is and know that it still can engulf me because even if I walk the straightest path, I'll always have one thing against me, my skin color. Thank you for your art, your honesty, and voice. You've always said so much, but now that the world is listening, I hope you say so much more. You have our attention! Here are some of my fav lines from "For Your Eyez Only":