J. Cole talks music theory, produces a saxophone session and scribbles lyrics into his notebook in the intimate Tidal documentary, Eyez. The 40-minute doc reveals Cole’s creative process at New York’s famed Electric Lady Studios, where he recorded his forthcoming LP, 4 Your Eyez Only.
Director Scott Lazer avoids narration, opting for a fly-on-the-wall approach. Throughout, session musicians overdub Hammond organ, trumpet, vocals and bass onto pre-existing beats, while J. Cole lays down vocal tracks and practices on a Fender Rhodes. In one intimate moment, the rapper examines the arc of his career: “You get to this level of … platform; the next one might go down,” he says. “You’re never guaranteed to be this high again. So while I’m here, let me use this opportunity to say the realest shit I’ve ever said.”
Lazer also assembles off-the-cuff music videos for three tracks. For “False Prophets,” J. Cole raps on a bus and into a convenience store security camera. In another track, he rhymes, “It’s the return of the Mr. Burn Suckas/ Not herpes-infested, just perfectly blessed with a style that you can’t eff with.”
Eyez hit Tidal hours after 4 Your Eyez Only appeared on iTunes for pre-order. The album, which follows 2014’s Forest Hills Drive, is out December 9th via Dreamville/Roc Nation.