Having initially premiered his documentary through HBO, J. Cole has now made ‘4 Your Eyez Only’ available to all eyes. As a man of the people, the clip has turned up on YouTube and now stands as mandatory viewing for J Cole fans, new and old alike.
Directed by Scott Lazer and Cole himself, a range of real life stories and interviews are contrasted by pop-colour music video clips that combine to make a 50-minute masterpiece. From the realness of the stories and the voices he creates a space for, to the power in their messages, every second is drenched in honest emotion. Meeting with people from Baton Rouge, Atlanta, Ferguson, Fayetteville (his hometown) and Jonesboro, the conversations challenge the lack of representation in these places for people of colour and the dire need to elevate their place in society to an equal plain. Cole confronts the roots of systemic racism, explores the way it functions at present and poses important questions for the future of these people, and subsequently, the whole world. Such mammoth issues are handled without the typical sugarcoating, and the result is awe-inspiring.
Additionally, Cole has put the footage from the SWAT team break in that took place at his studio. The story goes that a million dollar investigation played out with helicopters, plenty of weaponry and a broken down door that turned over zero results. Following a very misguided tip from his suspicious neighbours, the clip brings some very pressing questions about America’s war on drugs and embedded racism to light. Luckily, Cole was out of the house at the time, as there is no saying what may have taken place otherwise. You can check out the documentary and ‘Neighbours’ clip in the gallery above.