Michael White Mermaid

Inside The Lines: “Seen a river of your tears go by…”

Illustration by Michael White. Words by Cain Kerner.

This week’s “Inside The Lines” pulls from GOMD, track eight of J. Cole’s third studio album, Forest Hills Drive. The album is revered by many fans of J. Cole and hip-hop alike as a flawless project that can be played in its entirety. The record touches on many personal topics such as wanting to “go back to Jermaine” and never having experienced real love, referenced below…

Young nigga never had love
You know, foot massage, back rub shit
Blowing bubbles in the bathtub shit
That is until I met you
Together we done watch years go by
Seen a river of your tears go by
Got me thinkin’ bout some kids, still I
Tell them hoes come through
(The break up)

– J. Cole

These eight bars essentially speak on the paradox of loving a woman while not only being a man, but a very successful man such as J. Cole. As men, we can have a woman that in every way completes us and fills the voids in our lives created from a young age and still want some outside pussy every now and then.

It’s a terrible thing to subject someone you’ve “watched years go by” with, but there will always be a piece of (some of) us that longs to “tell them hoes come through”. Being that J. Cole travels the world and is wealthier than the average man, one can only imagine the level of temptation he’s subjected to on a daily basis. In the record, this is ultimately followed up by Cole detailing the actions and emotions that follow post breakup.

What can be taken from this video is that the conflict between skin tones in the black community serves to destroy any chances of solidarity, the missing ingredient to overcome the true enemy reaping the benefits of the very divide they devised. On top of having a gorgeous video accompany a very well put together record, Cole, as always, hoped for the video to plant a seed in the minds of black youth to understand that black is black.
And without unity, oppression will prosper.



Artist from NEW YORK, I've dedicated my life to creating Art and letting my imagination lead me. Nothing is impossible, to be creative is to breathe beneath water.

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