J. Cole’s Eyez Documentary Gives The First Taste Of Music From His New Album (Video)

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Yesterday (December 1), seemingly out of nowhere a new J. Cole album, to be released December 9, was posted for pre-order. The album came with no announcement, no single and no marketing at all. Later, the pre-order was pulled, leading to speculation that reports were pre-mature, but now, TIDAL has released a 40-minute documentary about the making of the album that appears to be titled 4 Your Eyez Only.

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The Eyez documentary is a behind the scenes look at J. Cole’s music-making process for the album, similar to the film Cole released ahead of his 2014 Forest Hills Drive album. It is yet another parallel to that 2014 album, which was also a sneak attack in its release strategy.

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Much of the film is moody, with stylish camera work and sparse discussion. There are several moments where pieces of music are seen coming together, with little to no context about whether or not they will be included on the album. An exception occurs around the 4-minute mark, when Cole enters an extended conversation about a specific song and then has a discussion about the impact of the first song that is released from a project. With no warning, at the 7:30 mark, the film slips into a music video which, based on the context, is likely the first song from 4 Your Eyez Only that Cole has decided to share with the world. The song has a distinctly A Tribe Called Quest feel to it, borrowing elements of “Lyrics To Go,” for the sample. As the discussion suggests, it sets expectations for the album, and gives reason for them to be high.

Another such moment occurs 21:40 in, as Cole is shown recording a verse from a song. It’s clear that he is still working through his lyrics, but they are vintage Cole. At 30:30, another magical moment occurs, as Cole goes IN over the same sample Joey Bada$$ used on his song “Waves.” Again, it appears to be a full music video, within the documentary.

The film ends with as little fanfare as it starts, but it is a satisfying look in to the life and times of Jermaine Cole.