New York born and raised artist J. Cole’s 2016 album 4 Your Eyez Only, featured song “Immortal” is one of many poetic songs in the album. The album is inscripted with stories about the stars coming up and a close friend he’s lost which he formally calls James for the sake of his privacy. Coming from the projects of New York, growing up wasn’t easy and J. Cole wrote about the constant experiences he withstood during his young life through illegal hussle and activity. The song Immortal comes from the perspective of Cole at the age of 17, a quite optimistic child, but only because he sells crack to escape poverty even though the risks accumulate when dealing is your side hustle. He talks about how African Americans are given 3 options from where he’s from to make ends meet in order to succeed and flee from the projects and how black men are only legends for drug dealing, sports, and music. Cole resents the way this idea and perspective is enforced on society for a young black male. This resentment was to primarily tackle the social justice system and the issues inside of it coming from the point of view of a black male.
J. Cole turns the underlying theme of the deepening song into a form of poetry, enhancing appeal towards his audience with his usage of eye catching diction and sensual feeling from the explicit song. He’s own questioning as he reminisces and looks back on what he’s witnessed engages the listener who listens to his cleverness carefully, the contrast he makes when he states,
Have you ever seen a fiend cook crack on the spoon?
Have you ever seen a n***a that was black on the moon?
This really makes a listener who hasn’t seen the same question the unjust perspective a young black male has to go through in order to hustle to survive and escape from poverty. The word “fiend” can be seen as a daily person in the street for some, or it can be used as an addict who has a wicked personality, emphasizing a contradiction between areas and multidimensional language. In addition the first verse right off the bat stating
Now I was barely seventeen with a pocket full of hope.
Screamin' "dollar and a dream" with my closet lookin' broke.
And my ni***s lookin’ clean, gettin’ caught up with that dope. Have you ever served a fiend with a pocket full of soap?”
With this, this exemplifies a setting, in a place where a broke young male fears poverty so much illegal activity is irrelevant, as nothing matches a broke man or a dead man in the projects which turns his diction into poetry, as he can tie his thematic concept into his own perspectives throughout his life. The imagery J. Cole can paint all in all explains why rapping is poetry as you can clearly picture his facial expressions, his fatigue, and his situation in the projects in his last bar when he states,
And so I hustle like my ni***s in Virgini-A,
They tellin' ni***s, "sell dope, rap or go to NBA.”
In that order, it's that sort of thinkin'
That been keepin' ni***s chained at the bottom and hanged.
The strangest fruit that you ever seen, ripe with pain, listen.”
The word “chained” can be seen as a confinement of being chained from the life of dealing drugs Cole lived, or as security in the social justice system he as a black man can’t escape from, exemplifying multidimensional language as a poet. All in all emphasizing that J. Cole is a poet due to his intellectual diction, and the sensual and emotional connection listeners get from the imagery his music paints.