In the wee hours of the eve of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, J. Cole dropped the track, “High For Hours.” With the introspective single, Cole delves deep into thoughts of his “revolutionary heart” about the issues that engulf our nation today.
The 4 Your Eyez Only rapper harks on two themes relevant to his discussion with Creed writer and director, Ryan Coogler from last year’s MLK Day event, #MLKNow: numbness and healing ourselves before we try to heal the world.
In the first verse, the North Carolina native unravels the inadvertent numbness behind murder as he describes the contradiction between America despising ISIS for its hate-filled murderous tendencies. But, in the same breath paints a picture of two women clapping and high-fiving at the news of Bin Laden’s execution “as if Lebron had just scored a basket at the buzzer.” Confused, because one of the 10 commandments states “thou shalt not kill,” Cole goes on to explore the nature of police brutality in the black community explaining the lack of humanity, as well as the lack of cause for action. “But police still letting off n***** in the Ville/Claiming that he reached for a gun/They really think we dumb and got a death wish/Now somebody’s son is laying breathless.”
The Born Sinner producer continues to detail a conversation with President Obama in which he prompts Cole to: “Don’t stop fighting and don’t stop believing/You can make the world better for your kids before you leave it.” Then Cole reminds himself that “Change is slow, always has been, always will be” as he continues to fight back claiming: “I’ma bust back until they kill me.”
Fighting the very nature of his “revolutionary heart,” the artist questions whether revolution was ever the answer, pondering on what power does to man. Bringing his slew of reflective thoughts together, Cole comes to the conclusion that we have to change ourselves before we can change the world. “The real revolution happens right inside of you.” Befitting for the day in question, Cole honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and ideology with a pensive track that’ll have you wanting to get “High For Hours.”