It might be taking a little while, but the mysterious case of J.Cole’s abstract 2016 album, 4 Your Eyez Only, is beginning to unravel slowly, but surely.
And now that the project’s co-executive producer and longtime collaborator Elite has finally addressed it, we can officially say Cole almost pulled a fast one on us.
Speaking with Complex, Elite revealed that the storyline of the album — that had everyone piecing together what they thought were remnants of the Fayetteville native’s true life — is “largely” from the perspective of someone else. And in fact, the unidentified person who blew the internet’s collective mind with his or her analysis of the project was actually the most plausible theory yet.
“We saw that and it was pretty well-analyzed by whoever did that. It's pretty close to what Cole intended,” Elite said. Explaining that Cole intended to make clear that the perspective he spoke through the album was that of another person’s, Elite adds that there were certain parallels to his own life that existed within those perspectives as well.
“’Neighbors’ is a step outside for a second, but it’s still a commentary on the overall theme,” he revealed. “But the album is largely from a perspective that is not J.Cole.”
Elite also unveiled some significant details about how other elements of 4 Your Eyez Only came to be. Recollecting Cole’s visit to his Fayetteville, North Carolina, hometown, he says that the little girl’s voice from “Ville Mentality” was actually a candid conversation that the rapper held with a group of community kids. Her testimony of her father’s untimely death, Elite said, brought tears to his eyes.
“I really love the little girl on ‘Ville Mentality.’ She brings tears to my eyes when I hear her talk,” Elite said. “Cole went to Fayetteville one day and just sat down with some kids and spoke to them and recorded it. And he got them to open up and say these really powerful things.”
Elite also discusses the Dreamville team’s attitude toward the meme-sensational “double platinum, no features” uproar surrounding Cole’s 2014 Forest Hills Drive album and the “real life events” that inspired “Neighbors.”
Read Elite’s full commentary on some of the project’s most debated topics here.
(Photo: Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images for The Meadows)