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Chandler Miller Professor Hinnant English 1101 27 November 2013 The Forbidden Fruit Rap is often thought of as a poem accompanied by music, each lyric tells a story that the artist wants to be conveyed to his/her listener. One artist that is well known for always having a deeper meaning to his songs is J. Cole. His song, Forbidden Fruit is one that has a deeper meaning. In the beginning of the song Cole uses biblical references to let the listener know that his song is about God and religion, as the song progresses the listener is then able to figure out that the songs other meaning is that he considers himself to be at the top and that there is nobody better than him. He uses the lyrics to tell the listener that he is the best. The audience that Cole usually reaches would be the young adult crowd because he speaks on ideas that are easily relatable to that crowd such as his stories about growing up without a father, how he came from nothing but became something, things are not always as they seem and to never give up on what you believe in just to name a few. While his ideas are relatable his attitude and aura he gives off is also relatable because he used to be the underdog artist, who had to prove to people that he really did have potential, which is a battle that some people endure quite frequently. The song begins with a hook which is talking about Adam & Eve which goes back to how the song has a religious connotation to it. Cole says, Me and my bitch, took a little sip/ down to the garden took a little dip (oh no). With this line Coles lyrics are referring to the forbidden garden that Adam and Eve went to, because he says garden and because the song

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title is Forbidden Fruit the listener knows that he is starting the song with religious references. Cole then proceeds to say, Apple juice falling from her lips, took a little sip, little sip. With this line Cole is referring to when Eve took a bite from the apple which was the forbidden fruit and the juice is falling from her lips. Also by saying this Cole describes the womans lips as being sinful and because he sees her takes the bite of the apple he is being provoked to do something sinful like Eve did when she provoked Adam into biting the apple with her. This also allows the listener to know that Cole is putting a negative connotation to women, saying they are evil and full of sin. As the song progresses into the first verse Cole gives more biblical references. He says, Hey yo, I walked through the valley of the shadow of death. This line is referring to the bible verse Psalm 23:4, which states, Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. By saying this, Cole is letting the listener know that he believes in God and that he knows the bible, because he chose this verse. This verse displays to the listener that his faith in God is solid because he fears nothing with God on side which relates back to the bible verse connection in which the verse states that even though you are walking through a dark valley, you should fear no evil because you faith is strong and you feel comfort in knowing you are protected. In Coles version of this verse he refers to his hood as his shadow of death where he can barely retain his own faith. Keeping with the biblical references in this song, Cole proceeds to say, Thats why I keep a cross on my chest, either that or a vest. He gets protection both spiritually and physically, he either has on his cross or his bulletproof vest. With the use of the word or he lets the listener know that he has two options for protection. He either will have use the cross for his protection, believing that his faith in God will be enough. On the other hand if God could not help him or is

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not around help him he will use his other method of protection which would include the use of his own material possessions which is the vest he references in that verse. The reference to him keeping a cross on my chest does still imply that he believes in and has faith in a higher power. This also displays that while he has some faith in God to bring him through certain things, he does not fully believe that he will always be protected by God because he still chooses to wear his vest. One of the last biblical references made in the first is when Cole says his black book is thicker than the Old Testament. He says, My little black book thicker than the Old Testament. While this reference does not have a positive connotation with it like when he previously talked about the bible, this reference starts the transition into him talking about his popularity and how no one can compare to him and his work. By comparing his black book to the Old Testament he is saying that he has so many numbers and knows so many people because he is so good at rapping that it is longer than the Old Testament which is a pretty long book itself. Lastly, Cole criticizes ministers in the church by saying, Same bitch giving brains to the minister. A minister who is known as a representative of religion or the church is shown as a sinner of an equal or higher degree like any regular person. Cole is showing that even the holiest of holy people can sin just like any regular person and that their sin is viewed just as bad as anybody elses sin in the eyes of God. By saying this Cole is also telling the listener that they should be wary about who they decide to follow because even though one may look like the best thing out there, looks can be deceiving and the person you are following can lead you down the wrong path. Cole is also saying the church is something that cannot be trusted. He tells the listener that the preacher is a sinner, and a preacher is a leader of a large group people so the preacher could be sending the wrong message that pretending to be something you are, like always being holy,

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but you are actually a sinner is the right thing to do the people that follow his leadership in the church. He is telling the story of how the preacher should be someone held up to the highest respects, but he does not really deserve that respect. As Cole concludes his first verse he begins to talk about himself and all different aspects of him that essentially makes him who he is. He states that he will not bear the consequences of the actions of others with the use of the lyrics, What you eat dont make me shit and who you fuck dont make me cum. This line is an example of not being responsible for what other people do ig. he will not shit out anything that he did not eat himself. The last few lines of the verse state, Try to kill me but it cant be done/ cause my words gon live forever/you put two and two together Cole here forever. These three lines are stating that Cole is not afraid of the competition because he feels there is none, even if someone does kill him his raps are so good that they will live on even after his death. He will live on forever through his music because it is just that good. After the first verse is finished Cole then proceeds to rap the bridge of the song. The bridge is a short way to present the basic understandings of life. Cole says, Bitches come and go (you know that)/ Money come and go (you know that)/ Love come and go (dont shit last). By saying these three things he is saying that nothing lasts forever, women cheat, money gets spent and love is always lost. Cole is saying these things show what he thinks life is all about, which tells the listener all of the things he truly does value. It shows that he does not praise the superficial things in life, for example money, love or women. With these lyrics he lets the listener know that he has had bad experiences with love, women cheating on him and him losing money. These are things that he no longer values in life, because they have done him wrong or he has had bad experiences with these things. With the knowledge of what he does not value, the listener is able to conclude that the things In the second verse of the song Cole tells of

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his life story and how life has treated him thus far, but even with all these things against him he still has managed to come out on top. One line in this verse that displays these characteristics is when he says, Became by myself, only father was time. With this verse he is explaining that the man he is today is a result of things he has done on his own, he became a man through his experiences over time which is why he refers to his only father being time. He then goes on to tell the story of his childhood and how he lost his innocence based upon the choices he made as a child. He says, I was a young nigga making As at 11/ Or 12, trying to get that taste of the Heaven/ Or Hell only time will tell. He is saying that he went from straight As to only worried about things that were not good for him which is a symbol for him going down the path of hell, from good to bad. In the end only time will tell if his intentions were right or wrong. He finishes this verse and the song with a metaphor for how difficult life is. He says, Lifes a bitch and her pussys wet. He is saying that life is a daunting task and that because it is wet it is also able for him to have sex with which is a metaphor for him is taking life head on and coming out on top. Another meaning the listener is able to understand from these lyrics is another metaphor that life could be a bitch, confusing, hard, emotional and full of up and down just like a woman is which relates to why he uses the word pussy because that is something women have. The metaphor shows that while life is all of these different things like a women is, he still conquers life and women because he is able to tell the listener that the pussy is wet, and he would know that from having sex, which a form of conquering a women. Lastly this verse could be interpreted as Cole letting the listener know that life for him has been hard for him, and that he has been through something and he has lost the battle with life because he calls it a bitch which has a negative connotation with it and is a word used to offend a person.

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People usually put a negative connotation with rap music because of where it originated from is nothing like it is today. They feel as if rap has no meaning and the artist behind the rap music is equally as ignorant but in reality the artist have hidden meaning behind each of the lyrics that they rap. J. Cole is an example of this, when you first listen to his songs they sound as if they have no meaning, but after you listen the picture he is trying to paint with his words becomes clear. At the first glance of his song, Forbidden Fruit all I paid attention was the beat of the song and the vulgarity of the song, after sitting down and analyzing the song I was able to see that he was telling a story of his life and how he grew up with no help from a father, but also while God did play a part in his life and helped him through certain parts of his life, he also knew that ultimately the only person who he could count on 100 percent was himself, which shows that while he values God and the help that he does provide for him, he considers the help he can bring himself to be bigger and greater than what God could provide.

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Work Cited Cole, J. "Forbidden Fruit." By Jake One and Christian Rich. Rec. June-July 2013. Born Sinner. J. Cole. Roc Nation, Columbia Records, J.Cole, 2013. CD Psalms. Bible Gateway. Nick Hengeveld, 23 Mar. 1993. Web. 7 Oct. 2013. <http://www.biblegateway.com/>.