Unless you caught J. Cole at a music festival or bumped one of his feature verses—you can count all from 2016 on one hand—you probably thought the guy went ghost this year. The 31-year-old rapper from North Carolina pulls back the curtain tonight with the release of his new documentary titled Eyez

The 40-minute doc takes a look at Cole’s life since 2014 Forest Hills Drive and what he’s been up to in the studio. As it turns out, he’s been putting in work, as the release of Eyez also comes with the announcement of his new album 4 Your Eyez Only that will be released Dec. 9.

The film begins with footage of a recording session at New York’s famous Electric Lady studio. You see Cole writing lyrics (with a pen! In a notebook!) The film has no narration, so you really get a fly-on-the-wall view of what making the album was like.

About seven minutes in, you can hear a new song (the title is not stated) and even see what appears to be its video. “It’s the return of the Mr. Burn Suckas,” he raps “Not herpes infested, just perfectly blessed with a style that you can’t eff with.” He goes on to dis “the amateur eight-week rappers/The Lil Whatever, just another short bus rapper/Fake drug dealers-turned-tour bus trappers.”

During the course of the film, you can see people tracking violin, organ, bass, vocals, trumpet, and more, and see Cole directing the musicians. The project gives an idea of exactly how involved the rapper is in every single aspect of the project—you even see him getting impromptu lessons in composition and music theory.

And of course, no J. Cole documentary would be complete without some footage of him playing basketball—you can see him warming up on the court about 17 minutes in.

A second maybe-it’s-a-video pops up at around the 31 minute mark, about someone whose “fall from grace was hard to take.”

The film ends with Cole riding away quietly on his bicycle into the NYC evening.

Stream J. Cole’s Eyez above. Non-members of Tidal can sign up for a complimentary trial here.


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“I’m so far ahead of my time; I’m bout to start another life/ Look behind you, I’m bout to pass you twice.”- Jay Z “Youngins ice grillin’ me, oh you not feeling me/Fine, it cost you nothing/Pay me no mind” “I’d rather die enormous than live dormant” “They giveth and they taketh life is cruel that way/But even a broken clock is right at least two times a day” “A wise man told me don’t argue with fools, cause people from a distance can’t tell who is who.” “Swear to everything, when I leave this Earth, it’s gon’ be on both feet, never knees in the dirt” “No one said it would be easy, n**** livin’ is work” “I’m not afraid of dying, I’m afraid of not trying”