J. Cole is starting off 2017 with his first new music since the December release of his 4 Your Eyez Only album. Produced by Elite & Cam O’bi, “High For Hours” landed on Cole’s SoundCloud as a quiet surprise on Sunday night (January 15).
On the second verse of the song, Cole recounts meeting with President Barack Obama, who he visited at the White House with several other rappers last April to discuss the “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative and criminal justice reform.
Obama has been an outspoken fan of the Dreamville boss, reportedly showing his admiration for J. Cole last March.
Cole also has been outspoken about the president — rapping about wanting to see him bring real change to the system.
“No disrespect in terms of change I haven’t seen any / Maybe he had good intentions but was stifled by the system / And was sad to learn he actually couldn’t bring any,” J. Cole rapped in a 2014 performance of “Be Free.”
The verse on “High For Hours” brings up similar themes. Check out the lyrics below (annotated via Genius) and listen to the song above.
I had a convo with the president, I paid to go and see him
Thinking bout the things I said I’d say when I would see him
Feeling nervous, sitting in a room full of white folks
Thinking about the black man plight, think I might choke, nope
Raised my hand and asked a man a question
‘Does he see the struggles of his brothers in oppression?
And if so, if you got all the power in the clout as the president
What’s keeping you from helping niggas out?’
Well I didn’t say nigga, but you catch my drift
He look me in my eyes and spoke and he was rather swift
He broke the issues down and showed me he was well aware
I got the vibe he was sincere and that the brother cared
But dawg you in the chair, what’s the hold up?
He said there’s things that I wanna fix
But you know this shit nigga, politics
Don’t stop fighting and don’t stop believing
You can make the world better for your kids before you leave it