J. Cole’s “Neighbors” was released in 2016 on his fourth studio album “4 Your Eyez Only”. Upon release of this album in 2016, I felt obligated to immediately become enticed by this album since J. Cole is one of my favorite artists. What intrigued me about this song in particular is the mellow tone of the music, and deep, consuming bass beat that compliments J. Cole’s soothing voice as he shares his narrative. This song tells the story of how J. Cole moved into an affluent neighborhood, and due to his color, the neighbors convinced themselves that he was a drug dealer, which is a common stereotype among the black community. This song’s story paints a visual in the audience’s mind, pulling them into the setting and replicating the events within themselves. It is commonly understood that this song is in response to the passing of Trayvon Martin, since J. Cole dedicates a verse to him before the chorus, and falls into the category of protest regarding the Black Lives Matter movement, hoping to put an end to the prejudice attitudes whites have against blacks, and to bring awareness to the harsh reality of police brutality.

In terms of research, I believe this song will allow me to dive deeper into understanding the unfortunate reality that blacks must face every day, regarding stereotypes and the way society (still) treats them, regardless of equal rights. Since Hip Hop and Rap as a genre became affluent among the black community throughout the history and progression of music, this song is fitting to J. Cole’s style and emulates a powerful message due to its medium.

To me, this song reminds me of a powerful message every time I hear and enjoy it: no matter how much time passes, there will always be a disconnect between races in society, and in order to reduce that disconnect as much as possible, society needs to come together to abolish racial prejudices and make everyone not only feel, but know they are of equal importance.

What may be challenging about this project will be the fact that, no matter how much I try to, or believe that I understand the message J. Cole is sharing, I will never truly understand as an individual, since I cannot and probably will never experience half of the unjust situations that blacks face on a daily basis.