But this theory proposed by one particular individual online might have hit the nail on the head with their dissertation of the project.
For beginners, the broad idea is that the album is actually not a recollection of his own life’s events, but that of a close friend. As for the mysterious title for the album, it is a dedication to the daughter of his close friend after he dies by the unforgiving hand of the streets.
Considering a few relative elements of the album’s artwork and one particular song, the person behind this theory may actually be onto something. On the back cover for the album, where the tracklist is included, there is a photo of a young, unidentified girl. Though several photos released from Cole’s album packaging included children and other nuances of his Fayetteville community, her placement has potential to be summarily important.
On the track “Ville Mentality,” we’re dropped another hint from the theory. As Cole takes a brief rap interlude on the single, a brief monologue from the unnamed child starts.
“My dad died,” the young girl’s voice begins. “He got shot because his friends set him up. And I didn’t go to his funeral, and sometimes when I’m in my room, I get mad at my mama when she’s mean to me.”
And while the theory states that Cole’s life “parallels” the life of his friend, the album's title track speaks directly to his friend’s daughter, first from her deceased father’s point of view and then from Cole’s.
“Their lives parallel one another,” the theory informs. “They both find a girl, they both have a daughter. But at the end, his friend passes away because of his life in the streets. J. Cole doesn’t die. He lives on to share his friend’s story. ‘4’ his daughter's eyes only.”
Are you as mind blown as we are? Check out the theory below.
(Photo: Brian Feinzimer/WireImage)