In life and song, J. Cole tries to attain happiness

Caty Keene, IV Leader Columnist

Editor’s Note: This article contains profanity.

I stood in Tinley Park in a mass of other die-hard J.Cole fans, on a humid July night, for the 2015 Forest Hills Drive Tour. I had been to a couple concerts before, but J.Cole does something different from any other artist I’ve seen live: The very talented,
30-year-old artist/ songwriter/producer sits on a black stool in the middle of the stage, talking to the audience as if his fans are his friends.

He tells them he wants them to hear what this song (“Love Yourz”) is about so every time they hear it they can remember what J.Cole meant. “When you leave here tonight and play this shit tonight, tomorrow or the next day, you will remember what it meant, this is what this shit is about to me.” It’s easy to try and guess what an artist might mean in his lyrics, but it is a whole new exhilarating experience when you hear the artist talk about what message he is trying to convey. If you have yet to hear “Love Yourz,” I advise you do so immediately. The message J.Cole is trying to share in this piece of work is beyond powerful. So, just what is this moving message he is dying to get across? Well, it would be best summed up as, “the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.”

We’ve all heard the quote, and it’s one of the truest things we are told. No matter what we have, what someone else has is always better. The artist explains how we have to remember that “the grass is always greener on the other side” is just a
perception.

But why do we think this way? J.Cole states that the world sets up a standard through images and messages of what we need to be happy: the American Dream. The Dream consists of four things, he says: “a lot of money, a big-ass house, a new car, and a wife that’s not even genetically possible to have.”

The world says that if you have these things, you will be happy because this is all you need in life. But where did this idea come from? The artist goes on to explain that since very few people achieve such a life, we idolize those that do.

J.Cole says he knows this because he was once in our shoes, watching how celebrities lived in luxury and knowing how badly he wanted to attain that life. Once he did, he realized that it wasn’t what the world had made it seem.

“I realized real quick that everything they tell us is bullshit. It’s fake, it’s not true. That’s not what you need to be happy.” He knew that these things weren’t what made him happy, and he didn’t try to trick himself into thinking that he was happy.

J.Cole sums up his story like this: a rich man has billions of dollars, a mansion, an expensive car and, of course, the genetically impossible wife – but he’s absolutely miserable and empty. Then there are people in worse conditions who have more
happiness in their lives than this rich man. But how is this possible?

It’s possible because the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. The grass is greener where you water it.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail