Embarrassing Honesty

by Mckale Thompson

In J. Cole’s song “Wet Dreamz” from his album 2014 Forest Hills Drive, he dives deeper into his first sexual experience. The song flows like a narrative beginning when Cole meets the girl, all of the way to when he ends up at her house. The listener gets inside information into Cole’s emotions every step of the way, his seemingly embarrassing honesty builds trust with the listener causing them to be invested in Cole’s journey throughout the song. But, why does Cole’s narrative come off as taboo when he’s talking about an experience that the majority of people have at some point in their lives? Cole uses poetic language to cause the listener to feel like they have privileged information about his first sexual encounter and draw them into his narrative.

Let me take y'all back man
As I do so well
Wasn't nothin' like that
Man, it wasn't nothin' like that first time

At the beginning of the song, Cole utilizes flashback to transport the listener to a different time. By beginning the song with a flashback the listener is immediately curious about where they are being taken, this prepares the listener to hear an important story. By addressing the listener as “y’all” the listener feels as if they are sitting across from an old friend with gossip. The use of 2nd person also ropes the listener into Cole’s narrative.

'Cause when I seen 'em thighs on her and them hips on her and them lips on her

Cole goes on to describe the appearance of the girl that he is interested in. By using polysyndeton, the reader is able to understand the ongoing attraction that Cole has. The continued use of “and” makes the listener feel that list goes on for longer than it really does. This draws the listener further into Cole’s narrative because she is no longer just a girl, she is an extremely attractive girl according to Cole’s account.

I wrote back and said "of course I had sex before"
Knowing I was frontin'
I said I was like a pro baby
Knowing I was stuntin'
But if I told the truth I knew I'd get played out son

Cole uses dramatic irony to add suspense to his story. He first explains what he said in reality, and then in the next line reveals his real thoughts about the situation. By letting the listener know that he really had no experience while he told the girl that he did, the reader is curious if he’ll be made as a fraud. He even reveals the stakes of his lie saying, “But if I told the truth I knew I’d get played out” meaning that if he was to be exposed as inexperienced he would be ostracized by his peers. Cole uses poetic language to create an unforgettable story, that also happens to have a pretty catchy hook.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s