These days, we never really know what J. Cole is up to.
And after the unexpected release of his fourth studio album, 4 Your Eyez Only, he’s now once again manifesting the true element of surprise with his newest single, “High For Hours.”
With quite powerful intent, Cole dropped the single off on Monday (Jan. 16) for Martin Luther King Day. As the its title suggests, the song is among the Dreamville chief's most introspective and thought-provoking tracks. Expounding on the plights of Black America, his anxiety-ridden first meeting with President Barack Obama, and the cycles of systemic oppression, Cole is unapologetically frank in his expressive thoughts. Such is proven as he peels open the first verse of the track with a jab at America’s history of duplicity:
“American hypocrisy, oh let me count the ways,” he raps. “They came here seeking freedom and they end up owning slaves.”
Of Cole’s meeting with Obama, he reveals a few surprising details as well. While Cole has frequented Washington, D.C. outside of his tour and concert obligations, the most noted visit came when he humbly appeared at the White House beside a few other rappers. On the track, he says that he directly confronted Obama, though nervously so at first, about his understanding of the issues facing the Black community. Fortunately, he suggests through the verse, the response was satisfactory.
“Feeling nervous, sitting in a room full of white folks, thinking about the black man plight, think I might choke, nope,” Cole raps. “Raised my hand and asked a man a question. Does he see the struggles of his brothers in oppression? And if so, if you got all the power in the clout as the president. What's keeping you from helping n**gas out?' Well I didn't say n**ga, but you catch my drift. He look me in my eyes and spoke and he was rather swift. He broke the issues down and showed me he was well aware. I got the vibe he was sincere and that the brother cared.”
Listen to the entire “High For Hours” track below.
(Photo: George Pimentel/Getty Images)
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