Album Review: J. Cole, ‘2014 Forest Hill Drive’

2014-forest-hills

Jack Frost came early to bring us a Cole-winter with J. Cole’s latest album ‘2014 Forrest Hill Drive’. The album, which will be the last to be distributed by Columbia Records, was released on December 9, 2014 without any teasers or singles to build up hype. According to Columbia Records, Cole let his fans listen first before even his label and the press. Can it be assumed that Cole is not all about the fame and money?

Cole’s latest is very much reflective and an homage to his home in Fayetteville, NC where his music career began. If you’re looking for a whole album dedicated to ratchetry, money-on-my-mind-ALL-THE-TIME hooks and bars, with a side of trolling for the latest beef then 2014 Forest Hill Drive may be vegan for you. Nah, it’s not that healthy but it is good for the mind.

The compilation starts with Cole crooning “Do you wanna be happy?” over a mellow piano melody. The mood continues in a mellow and meditative state in every other track as we travel through Cole’s thoughts and memories. The messages are sentimental and yet don’t shy nor stray too far from the traditional hip-hop ego set up exemplified in ‘January 28th’ and ‘Fire Squad.’

The album picks up and becomes amusing as you listen to Cole recant his first sexual encounter in ‘Wet Dreamz’. The admissions continue with tracks like ‘03’ Adolescence,’ ‘Hello’ and ‘No Role Modelz.’ ‘Apparently’ is a great track that reminds me of how real and conscious the content of this album is. Its filled with knowledge and wisdom under an umbrella of confessions. I was so caught up in the lyrics that I didn’t even focus too much on the beats, except in ‘Tale of 2 Cities’ when the eerie bells lead me to a really heavy and chill beat. that demanded my “hands in the air.”

Cole concludes his third musical journal with a realization of the “beauty in the struggle and the ugly in the success” in ‘Love Yourz’ and then narrates the credits in ‘Note to Self.’

2014 Forest Hill Drive is Cole’s acknowledgement that there’s more to rap and life than money. The album’s content isn’t heavy in social issues (though it came out during a relevant time in the U.S.) or personal stories but it is rich in reality and empathy. This album is approved to purchase and play on repeat if you haven’t done so already.

Rating: 9 out of 10

You can pick up J. Cole’s 2014 Forest Hill Drive on iTunes.

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Asia Martin is a staff writer for Pop-Break covering TV shows and movies that make her laugh or cringe. She spends most of her daytime hours assisting Hurricane Sandy relief at The Children’s Home Society of NJ, yes people are still in need. In her spare time, she runs her own social media management business, Rising Dynamics, LLC and freelance writes. Asia is a graduate of Rutgers University with a major in Journalism and Media Studies. She loves superhero cartoons, films and Comic Con but continuously skips out on comic books #sorrybutnotsorry Follow Asia on Twitter: @ColoredIn
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