High for Hours

Album: single release only (2017)

Songfacts®:

  • This politically charged, contemplative track was dropped by J. Cole on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2017. Cole calls out "American hypocrisy" throughout the country's problematic history and also rhymes about contemporary social issues such as police brutality that "make you want to let go."
  • The lyrics of the second verse center around a meeting Cole had with Barack Obama, as the rapper details what it was like to meet the president:

    I had a convo with the president, I paid to go and see him
    Thinking bout the things I said I'd say when I would see him
    Feeling nervous, sitting in a room full of white folks
    Thinking about the black man plight, think I might choke
    .

    It's likely Cole's conversation took place on April 15, 2016 when he, Alicia Keys, Chance the Rapper, Ludacris, Nicki Minaj and Wale attended a White House sit down with President Obama to discuss criminal justice reform and the My Brother's Keeper Initiative. Cole's recounts how he directly asked the POTUS: "Does he see the struggles of his brothers in oppression?"
  • The song was produced by Chance the Rapper collaborator Cam O'bi and Dreamville in-house producer and Cole's manager Elite who also worked on 4 Your Eyez Only. Elite tweeted: "Cole was zonin wrote like 5 verses in his hotel room on tour text me and @iamCam like i need a beat so we cooked up on the bus."

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