In an era of surprise album releases and the non-rollout, the buzz surrounding a project has truly become a testament to an artist’s magnitude.
Of course, there’s still manufactured buzz and a self-sustaining market on a mainstream level, but when J. Cole announced a December 9th release for his next album4 Your Eyez Only, there was a palpable excitement based on Cole’s artistic value. This is, after all, the same guy who went double Platinum on his last album with zero features.
Cole has time and again proven himself to be one of the most cherished voices in hip-hop, and that’s manifested in not only his individual success but how he’s viewed by both fans and the unfamiliar alike.
In a recent series of Instagram posts, 4 Your Eyez Only album photographer Anthony Supreme detailed the story of how Cole’s latest album artwork was chosen, and its direct relation to Cole’s influence as an artist and also what that influence meant to someone who had little to no grasp on what it means.
Not only is Cole’s influence clearly evident in the excitement and honor conveyed by Anthony throughout this story, but in the inspiration for the chosen photo itself. It was the awe found in the eyes of a random child on the streets of Atlanta that provided the necessary potency to make a certain photograph speak for the music behind it.
On a base level, it’s always cool to get a glimpse behind the scenes and hear the stories that eventually led to what we as the audience ultimately bare witness to, but on a deeper level, Anthony’s story is a real-time manifestation of Cole’s influence.
We may not know the full extent of the reach of 4 Your Eyez Only until lord knows how long after its release, but in seeing the thought and soul poured into the decision for its artwork, we can at least get a glimpse into the excruciating detail and thought that goes into how Cole represents himself, and that’s part of what makes him such an astounding artist.
By Brent Bradley. Follow him on Twitter.