Maybe that’s why J. Cole is so successful.
Newspapers are functioning on an old paradigm. Wherein PR people pitch stories and what ends up appearing in the arts section is hype. There’s no news there. It’s all in the other sections, National, Business and Sports. If I want the facts, I can go to the internet. I’m looking for the spin, someone to ferret through the detritus and come up with the jewels.
But racing through today’s NYT Arts section quickly so Felice could do the puzzle, her weekend addiction, I got hooked on a story about J. Cole. Which is hype for his HBO special.
I read it because I know Cole’s success more than his music, I thought there might be some nuggets there.
And there were. How he retreated from fame to North Carolina, tried to become the opposite of the character so many desire, with wine, women, song and automobiles.
And they talk about him playing hoops uninterrupted.
But the cops raided his abode. Cole posits looking for drugs. He believes a neighbor tipped them. Even though essentially nothing was found.
That’s when Cole wrote the six songs.
All of Cole’s albums have gone platinum, maybe this is why.
Art is best when based upon inspiration. Talk to anybody who creates. It’s when the heavens open, the lightning bolt comes down and you’re zapped, you’ve got something to say.
But that’s not the way it’s been for oh-so-long. All the music today is massaged. That’s what made music a hotter medium that movies or TV, it’s why Warner Records built HBO, never mind the Warner cable system. Because when done right music captures the zeitgeist.
Keith Richards conjured the riff to “Satisfaction” in a dream.
Some of the greatest songs in history were written in fifteen minutes.
And the people can tell, listeners know, there’s some indescribable nugget encased that they just can’t resist, that they must get closer to.
Which the digital/internet age should foster. Not only are the means of production cheap, they’re at your fingertips 24/7, as is distribution. There are no hurdles, it’s only our minds that our restricting us.
So get out and live, raise your antenna. When you least expect it, when you think you’re just going about your business, you will be inspired.
And it’s a solo event. Kinda like the Beatles, most of their songs were not joint affairs, McCartney or Lennon just tweaked what their partner came up with.
And there’s nothing wrong with tweaks, just don’t smooth the rough edges, don’t eliminate what hooks people to begin with.
And we are just people. We’re in search of humanity. When you channel truth we resonate and feel connected in a lonely world. That’s why we love our musical stars, their ability to do this.
“That lack of representation, Mr. Cole said, can lead to potentially catastrophic misunderstandings. In March of last year, police raided the Sheltuh; Mr. Cole believes a neighbor was fearful it was a drug den. Security footage that captures the raid is used in the HBO special, showing dozens of heavily armed men forcibly entering the building only to find, well, nothing. (A ticket was issued for a small amount of marijuana found on the premises, he said.)
‘I wrote six songs that weekend,’ Mr. Cole noted wryly – they included the powerful “Neighbors,” from the new album.’
P.S. This article is hype, but it’s so much more. Proving that I’m still looking, wading through the junk looking for the essence. People are still looking to be touched by greatness, inspiration, we never give up hope, we never stop turning the corner, we’re waiting for you to deliver for us.