Following J. Cole’s widely-beloved 2014 Forest Hills Drive, fans were eager to see what the Fayetteville, North Carolina rapper would do next. And while his 2016 release, 4 Your Eyez Only travelled further off the beaten path than FHD, the 10-track album holds a special place in the hearts of Cole fans worldwide.
Today, December 9, is the fifth anniversary of 4 Your Eyez Only. (It’s also the seventh anniversary of FHD.)
To celebrate five years, let’s take a look at one of the most polarizing tracks on the album: “Deja Vu.”
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
When fans first got their hands on 4 Your Eyez Only and got to the record’s third track, they experienced a little deja vu themselves. From the very first notes, it is apparent that the “Deja Vu” beat is nearly identical to the instrumental used on Bryson Tiller’s “Exchange.”
Acording to producers Boi-1da and Vinylz, Cole recorded “Deja Vu” before “Exchange” was even created, but Foreign Teck, one half of production duo The Mekanics, jacked the beat and gave it to Tiller before 4 Your Eyez Only was released. Teck offered Boi-1da and Vinylz a cut of the publishing profits from “Exchange,” essentially admitting he stole the beat, and justified the theft with claims that the pair of producers makes more money than him and gets more album placements than him.
Regardless, “Exchange” peaked at #26 on the Billboard Hot 100, “Deja Vu” peaked at #7, and the rest is history.
‘Cause you a star—no, not the type that snort the white lines
I mean the type to light the night time, I heard you got a man
But who in their right mind letting you out the house alone?
Tell me is your house a home?
Why you in the club looking like you out your zone?