The 2010s were arguably the most competitive decade for artists – ranging from Kendrick Lamar, Drake, and J Cole. In times when you need to be yourself and listen to what that voice inside your head is trying to tell you, you’ll definitely need a mellow tune to back your journey up.
Regardless of where you are, when you listen to the songs below, you’ll be lifted out of reality and straight to the depths of your emotions.
So without further ado, here is my list of the saddest J. Cole songs of all time!
1. No Role Modelz
When the Fresh Prince of Bel Air’s Uncle Phil died, a little part of all of us died, and J Cole brings that to life as he dedicates his song ‘No Role Modelz’ to “Uncle Phil.”
We all had an “Uncle Phil” in our lives, whether it was your teacher, mentor, old friend, or even the actual “Uncle Phil” in the show – we had someone that carried us through their teachings, learnings, and paths.
It’s okay to be “Out of touch with reality,” with J Coles’ ‘No Role Modelz’ I easily drifted out of reality, and I know you will too.
2. Nothing Lasts Forever
I get it – Heartbreaks hurt, and not just when your romantic partner leaves out of nowhere, but when someone who has been in your life for so long just disappears.
J Cole delivers the line’ tugging at the heartstrings with a different meaning by pushing the boundaries of sadness to incorporate anger and hate.
He brings the destruction of the relationship further than just the bond between two people but also to family members, especially how he calls out how, “your mama love me, little sister hugs me.”
3. Lost Ones
This one hit hard and hit fast as it deals with something that no one wants to talk about – Abortion.
It’s hard to imagine how it feels to lose that bond that was previously inside you, and J Cole highlights this by calling out how “I can’t imagine what it’s like for you.”
It’s definitely mentally scarring, but it doesn’t mean that you (or your partner) have to go through it alone.
4. Daddy’s Little Girl
To be real, sometimes we rebel from sadness – we’re sick of torturing ourselves night in and night out, so instead, we turn our backs on our guardians.
J Cole released the ideas behind how ‘Daddy’s Little Girl became a ‘rebel’ – especially considering how the closest ones to her “couldn’t reach her.”
5. Love Yourz
In a world riddled with chaos, industrialism, and the idea of ‘grinding for your dream,’ J Cole brings back the reality of why we are all on this Earth.
When I tuned in and vibed with J Cole repeating how there’s “No such thing as a life that’s better than yours,” it brought me back to why I was grinding and working so much.
I guarantee it’ll do the same for you as well.
Each melodic chord, bass kick, and warm tune that bounced along my eardrum from this song brought chills down to my core and eventually my heart.
I get that not everyone’s parents may have left them, but J Cole’s lyrics – especially when he repeats “Don’t break down” transported me into his shoes as he had to put a strong face on and not “Breakdown.”
7. Can I Live
Death takes its toll on us in mysterious ways; it could be something as simple as crying at a funeral or isolating yourself from everyone else for months on end. J Cole extrapolates upon this notion of death by depicting the oceans that move across neighbors.
In a society filled with hatred and violence, J Cole visualizes the family members’ pain “Like the phone when she heard the news,” to the instinctual perspective that comes about how the “Poor dude … straight up out that city that I’m from.”
8. Kevin’s Heart
It’s an odd play on words by J Cole, but as with most if not all of J Cole’s tracks, it does the trick in making us actually ‘feel our emotions’ rather than pushing them aside.
There will always be times when we drown our sorrows in work, sports, or even that night out – however, J Cole highlights how there will always be someone there as he states, “When I’m in your town press pound hit me up.” As much as we would love J Cole to be there, we all have our own ‘J Cole’ who we can rely on.
Occasionally there might be that other one, the one that you think of when you’re with your partner or that one you think of when you’re with your friends. It’s only natural, and we’re only human at the end of the day.
J Cole brings to life the reality of how our life is, and we choose to live exactly how we want to live. Yes, there might be that odd factor that is giving us another path – however, at the end of the day, we have to live by our decisions as to how we want to walk this crazy journey called life.
10. 3 Wishes
The nail in the coffin of experiencing sadness would have to be J Cole’s ‘3 Wishes.’
As he illustrated the details of his childhood, from the simplest experiences like “Playing Mega Man on Sega” to the nitty-gritty of “my stepfather beefin,” he reminded me of being real to myself and bringing back why we’re going through these hardships across life.
Another head-bopper that is strongly recommended for those times where you just can’t live right now.
Justin is an audio engineer with years of experience in the field. He has been creating and playing music his entire life, but he really found his passion for engineering when he was introduced to Logic Pro at age 10. Justin has spent countless hours perfecting his craft and now works as a freelance engineer out of Boston, MA.