1101-391 Language and Identity.

Dylan Erazo                                                                                                                     12/5/2018

ENG ­1101                                                                                                                         Art Essay


The Commuter in the Subway


*In the busy Subway of New York, on a Wednesday afternoon, on my way to class.


After tapping the play button on Youtube like a thousand times til the song plays*


Youtube (J Cole The New York Times): “They say you can win anywhere if you can win here___


-Gets interrupted by another commuter-


Commuter: “Excuse me can I sit there?”


-Takes off my headphones- (thoughts: but I just got it to play…)


Me: “Can I help you?”


Commuter: “Yeah can I sit there.”


Me: “Oh sure go right ahead.”


-moves my bag and scoots over a bit-


Commuter: “Thank you.”


Me: “You’re Welcome.”


-Puts headphones back in-








New York City one of the biggest cities in the world created legends like J Cole so who says it can’t help to create you? Whether you were born here or moved here for greater opportunities and success to be found “in the concrete jungle” (J Cole). Motivation is important as well as inspiration with the drive to do something. Doing all that it may take to reach your goals whether it be performing, making money, or inching closer to your career. J Cole’s music speaks to me, he is an incredible artist. An amazing song of his would be “The New York Times” Featuring 50 Cent & Bas. Listening to the song shifts my emotions when I blast it in my headphones on the train. I usually use Spotify or Youtube whenever I am listening to him, but I want to download his music because the connection in the subway is poor. Which makes no sense how our city has such poor connection in the subway when music helps the workers, the students, the tourists, you name it. Wherever it may be his music puts me in a better mood. The song helps me reflect on growing up and how I am trying to make a living for myself in this city. I am not alone many people are here trying to find their career paths. This city can make you or break you there are many downs and ups.

Jermaine Lamarr Cole grew up in Fayetteville, North Carolina and he was raised by his mother. In a lot of his music he mentions where he came from and who he was raised by. Also known as famous rapper J Cole, took interest in rap when he was around the age of 12. J Cole was inspired by rappers like Eminem, Nas and Canibus (Walters, Michaela). He even had Eminem’s lyrics posted on the walls in his room (Adaso, Henry). He decided to go to college at St John’s University Queens Campus, New York. There he studied communication. On his pursuit of his music career he tried to give Jay Z, an artist he admired, a beat that Cole had sampled. He was ignored the first try but Jay Z listened to the song “Lights Please,” by J Cole and was impressed. Jay Z proposed a meeting for J Cole that he would sign him as the first artist to Roc Nation (Adaso, Henry). The rest is history J Cole has produced amazing albums like KOD, 2014 Forest Hill Drive, and 2013 Born Sinner which includes the song the “New York Times”. J Cole also made amazing mixtapes like “The Come Up” and “The Warm Up”, along with many more albums.  Anyone can enjoy these songs produced by J Cole on Youtube, Spotify and many other applications that support audio and music. I enjoy J Coles music because it puts me in a good mood. When listening to his music it can give me a confidence boost depending on the song, for example in the “New York Times”. That song lifts my spirits I can relate to it although J Cole talks about being new to the city. He raps about how he is making a come up here in New York on a journey to success and I feel like I could also be on that journey too. The song will feed me energy during my commute. Once I make it to where I need to be. I will be able to accomplish any task that I am handed; Just as J Cole can accomplish any song he produces.

Imagine being on a commute in New York without music? There was a time where people didn’t have electronic devices that played music such as smartphones, ipods, etc. Music is an aspect of so many people’s lives. Technology itself is really a beautiful thing allowing us access to all our favorite songs in some way. I find music important because certain songs reach out to me. Songs are expressed in ways that sound nice but also carry meaning behind the lyrics that are written. Many people can agree that they have a certain type of music that they enjoy. Music is an art that shapes the lives of many by building, supporting, and moving people. People will say they listen to music when they are working because it makes them more productive. For me when listening to J Cole it will raise my spirit and in his deeper music, I feel that emotion. The emotion of a deep situation and pulling one’s self out of it through that expression in music. J Cole creates a buildup when he tells a story and goes deeper in and as you’re listening you just get moments of action because his words paint pictures. By creating scenes and situations you see everything that’s happening almost as if you’ve been drowned in that whole verse. Then you see the light that carries at the end if he’s speaking about a tough situation. Then at that moment of his song it will create a feeling of impression when I am listening to it, but there are so many different songs and situations he paints. His songs can create different feelings and shift moods. That’s why J Cole is considerably one of the greatest artists of all time and that is how his music makes me feel.


Walters, Michaela. “J Cole Chose to Move to New York to Pursue a Record Deal.” Capital XTRA, Capital XTRA, 28 Jan. 2016, www.capitalxtra.com/artists/j-cole/lists/interesting-facts/moved-to-new-york/.


Adaso, Henry, et al. “The Story of J. Cole: A Biography.” Thoughtco., Dotdash, 2017, www.thoughtco.com/j-cole-a-biography-2857161.