Home for the Holidays – J.Cole

One of my favorite rappers of all time is Jermaine Lamarr Cole, also known as, J.Cole. J.Cole is  a rapper from North Carolina who started off with a goal and was able to make it reality. Since a young age his main focus were both basketball and music. He loved to tell stories in his writings and used it as motivation. His first four mixtapes were named “The Come Up”,  “The Warm Up”, “Friday Night Lights” and “Cole World: The Sideline Story”. He decided to incorporate his passion for basketball and music throughout his albums and titles.

j-cole-friday-night-lights-front-cover-final

Personally, my favorite Album is “Friday Night Lights” which was released on November 12, 2010. The album cover symbolizes the linking of Basketball and Music that J. Cole is able to construct through his life. His hands on his head represent the struggles he has faced throughout his life. The title name is able to tell the world that it’s game time! Like the Television show Friday Night Lights, this album represents the stories of young people in a small town who are trying to figure out the path they want to take in life.  My favorite song in this hip hop/rap album is Home for the Holidays. I really like listening to Home for the Holidays because J.Cole is able to express his life experiences and observations in this one song.

If you isolate the lyrics, you’d think it’s a very optimistic tune. This song is very jazzy and upbeat. It sounds like a song that would possibly pop up when someone in a movie is walking down the street in a  jolly mood. Though the lyrics might be very strong and sometimes a bit negative, the upbeat tune really makes a great combination. It makes me feel as if one can over come all the negatives in life.

Damn, gon’ be some ni**as missing when you fly back
If you black, they sending you to jail or to Iraq

It’s very rare that the title of  this song is Home for the Holidays. One should always be “home”, not just on special occasions. J. Cole grew up in a very tough area where there were only a few options growing up, as a black male. In this verse he describes the struggles when he states the very few options that are available growing up in his hometown. A black male growing up will either end up in jail, the military or dead. While rapping he decided to avoid all of this and leave his hometown for a better and brighter future.

Said I’ll be home for the holiday
So when you see me, better holla at me
I gotta get up out this city ‘fore it try to trap me
I gotta leave, I wish I could stay
But I’ll be home for the holidays

He won’t stay in his ghetto town because it will “trap” him. He doesn’t want to end up dead or in prison. He wants the successful life and  a way out of his hometown where he can have freedom and be safe. If he doesn’t leave his hometown he won’t be able to move forward in life. Being able to promise that he’ll be back for the holidays means that he won’t forget where he comes from but that he will do what is necessary in order to achieve his goals. This song is really a strong song because J.Cole raps from his experience and one of the hardest decisions he faced in his life. He is able to express his story and write his own song. Throughout the song he explains all the reasons why he choses not to live at home. But, he also tries to remind people that they should never forget where they come from. The place you come from makes you who you are and you should always remember that. His return for home on the holidays makes it clear that where he grew up has a made a relatively big impact on his life.

Beartrap

This song really means a lot to me because I can relate to the things he sees in his hometown. I read the news from my hometown all the time and I’m tired of seeing titles that say “Paterson Man Critical After Thursday Morning Shooting” and “Paterson Man Critical After Another Shooting on Rosa Park Blvd” that happened on the same exact day. Many people from my home time never decide to follow the right path. My home town, Paterson, is a “trap”, as J.Cole would call it. Either you make it out or you don’t. The longer you stay, the faster you will go to prison, die or have no choice but to leave for the military. This song always reminds me that while it’s a tough decision that has to be made in order to achieve all my goals, I should always remember where I come from because that’s who made me who I am today.

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