June 18th was a big day for black music.Which is fitting because it is Black music month. Kanye’s album came out. Kelly Rowland’s album came out and J Cole’s album dropped.
I liked a few songs from Yeezus. I’m falling more and more in love with Talk A Good Game more and more each day (So happy for her.); but Born Sinner, J Cole’s album is the one that’s left the greatest impression.
J Cole is a storyteller. His lyrics are the right balance of deep and seemingly lighthearted but always thoughtful and introspective. There are moments when he gives history lessons. Moments when he’s a typical man, steadily on the prowl for the poon. Moments of the stereotypical Hip Hop bravado. And moments when he inspires. The album feels authentic. You believe what J Cole’s rapping about.
Which is why his song “Sparks Will Fly,” the last song on the album is so…unsettling.
If you know anything about J Cole, you know that he’s a college educated rapper. And while he was studying at St. John’s University in New York, he met and started dating his long time girlfriend when he was just a freshman. I feel some type of way about revealing her name, although a quick Google search will show and tell you who the girl is.
Anyway, in “Sparks Will Fly,” Cole explains how his newfound fame has put a strain on their relationship. In what sounds like a open letter to his lady, Cole says that he knows her friends have tried to persuade her to leave him alone but he makes a case for himself arguing “What if Gina had listened to Pam?” (I chuckled.) Then in the second verse, he talks about the role he’s played in their relationship struggles.
I know my style ain’t perfect
I know my smile ain’t perfect
N***a ain’t perfect, it’s true
Funny though I am perfect for you
All the drama seem worth it for you
She put up with the Isht like she work at the zoo, true
Now what you crying for?
She says you ain’t gon’ settle down, what you lyin’ for?
She want that old thing back
Things ain’t the same, think we both seen that
Love is war, end up on the floor
But baby you only lose when you don’t swing back
I say those words hoping that,
You fight for a N***a like I fight for you
Like I fight temptations every night for you
And know I slip, only girl in my life is you
That last line though. All I could do was grunt when it was over. And though, I felt like I was listening to something I shouldn’t have been; the song is so personal, I was still in my feelings. There are so many women who know that story. And they aren’t dating rappers either. I don’t know if it’s the women mature faster than women excuse or the fact that men with options are going to take them; but we all know a story of a man who loved a woman, but strayed or slipped sexually.
When I came to work the next day and my coworkers were discussing the album, I asked if they’d made it to “Sparks Will Fly” yet. Keep in mind our office is predominately women. Once it was over they had the same reaction I did. The grunt, coupled with an eye roll. One of them even said, half jokingly, that she didn’t like Cole anymore. And then came the discussion.
One of my coworkers argued that J Cole at least deserved points for being honest with her. In her opinion, his girlfriend can make an honest decision about where their relationship is going if she knows all the facts. My other coworker didn’t agree. She said just because he’s being honest about his past indiscretions doesn’t mean that he’s going to step away from the relationship. In her experience, men tried to “have their cake and eat it too,” sleeping with randoms, all while returning to the main chick, the woman he really loves, whenever convenient. When I mentioned that nothing in the song said he wouldn’t do it again, coworker #1 said, it would be best if she bounced. Coworker # 2 argued that it would need to be a decision they both make together. He needs to decide what he’s going to do with his life, whether he can be monogamous or not and stick to it, not trying to contact or bother her while he sleeps around.
I agreed with both of them but believe that it really is her decision to make. She can decide to be done. And even if he tries to contact her or reach out, she can decide not to answer the phone or see him. Naturally, it would be very difficult if she still loves him, but really she’s in the position of power.
I love love and in my opinion, best case scenario, in a few years all of that will be out of his system and she’ll have him back. But there’s always that risk that she finds somebody else in the interim or his sleep around years last entirely too long.
I bring this all up because this is not just a rapper’s story. And I wondered what some of you would do if placed in this same situation. You love this man. He loves you too but he keeps “slipping.” Would you wait this “wild” phase out? Would you keep the lines of communication open? Or could you remain in this relationship, knowing that although he might get around, he’ll eventually come back to you? And if that was an option for you, how would you feel about the nation and world knowing the intimacies of your relationship drama? Furthermore, have any of you ever done this already? It is, after all, quite common.
What do you think? Sound off.