Posted by , Dec 15, 2014 at 06:25pm
EDITOR RATING
85%
Golden: 4Broken: 0
Unanimous
AUDIENCE RATING
93%
628 votes
Editor reviews (tap to expand)
90%
Glennisha Morgan
Stellar
J. Cole has released his most personal and poignant album. Finally, he stops straddling the fence and unapologetically calls out his counterparts for their offenses, just as he seamlessly calls out his own.
90
91%
Rose Lilah
COLE WORLD
Cole really came through on this one, possibly my favorite project since his mixtape days. It's quality over quantity, while Cole brings his relatable bars about real life shit over hypnotic production that ranges the gamut from soulful to hyped up.
61
79%
Trevor Smith
Cole proves he's not a lump
J. Cole's obsession with being a part of the rap canon has held him back in the past, and "Forest Hills Drive" feels like the first time he's let go of that history. The end result is a project that plays like the proper debut he never quite made.
25
80%
Patrick Lyons
Make Nas proud?
Cole's 3rd album is his best, throwing out any concerns for radio hits or big collabs in favor of a cohesive, well-curated album. But especially with its outro track, the album strives for a level of historical importance it just doesn't quite have.
06
User  Rating:
very hottttt
93% (628)
Rate it!
audience rating
540 VERY HOTTTTT
45 HOTTTTT
13 MEH
10 NOT FEELING IT
20 MAKE IT STOP
User Rating:
93% (628)
J. Cole releases his most personal and poignant album.

J. Cole has come a long way from rapping about how to get up off the sideline. Three albums in, with 2014 Forest Hills Drive, the “God” is home. The Fayetteville, North Carolina native composed an honest, nostalgic album without any apologies. Cole typically plays it safe, straddling the fence of a conscious rapper who can still create commercial hits and enjoy a good romp in the bed. “For the past four-five years of my career, I’ve always been very politically correct, riding that line. But at the end of the day, I realize I’m doing myself a disservice and I’m doing people a disservice because I could say one thing. If I’m speaking my mind and saying how I truly feel, I might say one thing that connects the dots for somebody, that might have been the right connection that was needed,” he directly admits during a recent interview with Angie Martinez.

The 13-track, featureless album opens up with “Intro,” an inquisitive song about liberation. A raspy-sounding Cole sings, “Do you wanna, do you wanna be, happy?” over a melancholy piano beat. His voice escalates as the track progresses and Cole begins to rap about getting free. When Cole asks, “Do you wanna be free?”, it’s as if he’s not only speaking to his listeners but speaking to himself, conscious of the fact that 2014 Forest Hills Drive is his most personal and poignant release.

“What’s the price for a black man life?/I check the toe tag/Not one zero in sight/I turned the TV on/Not one hero in sight/Unless he dribble or he fiddle with mics,” hespits on “January 28th” before paying homage to his predecessors like Rakim, Big Daddy Kane and Slick Rick (only to follow up the recognition with a proclamation that he’s the rap God and they’re not). The Grammy-nominated artist then moves on to a "dear diary"-type revelation of losing his virginity on “Wet Dreamz.” Cole continues to showcase the growth of his vulnerability and storytelling skills on “03 Adolescence,” an apologetic reference to admiring a drug-dealing friend, who looked up to a college-bound Cole. “He just laughed when he seen I was sure/17 years breathing, his demeanor said more/He told me/Nigga you know how you sound right now/You are my mans/I would think you that you a clown right now/Listen, you’re everything I wanna be that’s why I fucks with you/So how you looking up to me? When I look up to you/You bout to go get a degree I’mma be stuck with two choices,” he raps.

After scolding himself, the self-proclaimed "king" specifically calls out a myriad of white artists (Eminem, Justin Timberlake, Macklemore and Iggy Azalea) for appropriating and co-opting black culture on “Fire Squad.” Some have deemed it a diss track, but it’s nothing of the sort. Before pointing fingers at his counterparts, he makes historical references to black music being stolen. Veering away from serious and controversial issues, Cole samples Project Pat on “No Role Modelz,” a comical ode to depthless women and hip-hop loveables like Trina, Aaliyah, dark skin Aunt Vivian (of "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air"), Sade and Nia Long.

The Southern rapper closes out the album with reflections. Due to being fatherless, Cole deems himself unqualified to play step-dad on “Hello,” displaying a mixture of singing and fast rapping about a “sad” lost love. On “Apparently,” one of many tracks that Cole produces on his own, he references purchasing his childhood home (2014 Forest Hills Drive), which his mother previously lost to foreclosure. A regretful Cole unveils that he was too busy chasing women to comfort his mother during the traumatizing ordeal. By the end of the album, two things are certain: Jermaine Cole is cocky enough to claim the thrown and humble enough to request unity amongst fellow rappers, including those he took shots at. Cole may not be the king of rap, but at least this time he didn’t let Nas down.

Review: J. Cole's "2014 Forest Hills Drive"

 
85%

Editor rating

Golden: 4 Broken: 0
Unanimous

Audience rating

628 votes
93 %

Editor Rating

90%
Glennisha Morgan Stellar
J. Cole has released his most personal and poignant album. Finally, he stops straddling the fence and unapologetically calls out his counterparts for their offenses, just as he seamlessly calls out his own.
90
91%
Rose Lilah COLE WORLD
Cole really came through on this one, possibly my favorite project since his mixtape days. It's quality over quantity, while Cole brings his relatable bars about real life shit over hypnotic production that ranges the gamut from soulful to hyped up.
61
79%
Trevor Smith Cole proves he's not a lump
J. Cole's obsession with being a part of the rap canon has held him back in the past, and "Forest Hills Drive" feels like the first time he's let go of that history. The end result is a project that plays like the proper debut he never quite made.
25
80%
Patrick Lyons Make Nas proud?
Cole's 3rd album is his best, throwing out any concerns for radio hits or big collabs in favor of a cohesive, well-curated album. But especially with its outro track, the album strives for a level of historical importance it just doesn't quite have.
06

Audience Rating

How do you rate this album/mixtape?
User  Rating:
audience rating
540 VERY HOTTTTT
45 HOTTTTT
13 MEH
10 NOT FEELING IT
20 MAKE IT STOP
 

J. Cole releases his most personal and poignant album.


J. Cole has come a long way from rapping about how to get up off the sideline. Three albums in, with 2014 Forest Hills Drive, the “God” is home. The Fayetteville, North Carolina native composed an honest, nostalgic album without any apologies. Cole typically plays it safe, straddling the fence of a conscious rapper who can still create commercial hits and enjoy a good romp in the bed. “For the past four-five years of my career, I’ve always been very politically correct, riding that line. But at the end of the day, I realize I’m doing myself a disservice and I’m doing people a disservice because I could say one thing. If I’m speaking my mind and saying how I truly feel, I might say one thing that connects the dots for somebody, that might have been the right connection that was needed,” he directly admits during a recent interview with Angie Martinez.

The 13-track, featureless album opens up with “Intro,” an inquisitive song about liberation. A raspy-sounding Cole sings, “Do you wanna, do you wanna be, happy?” over a melancholy piano beat. His voice escalates as the track progresses and Cole begins to rap about getting free. When Cole asks, “Do you wanna be free?”, it’s as if he’s not only speaking to his listeners but speaking to himself, conscious of the fact that 2014 Forest Hills Drive is his most personal and poignant release.

“What’s the price for a black man life?/I check the toe tag/Not one zero in sight/I turned the TV on/Not one hero in sight/Unless he dribble or he fiddle with mics,” hespits on “January 28th” before paying homage to his predecessors like Rakim, Big Daddy Kane and Slick Rick (only to follow up the recognition with a proclamation that he’s the rap God and they’re not). The Grammy-nominated artist then moves on to a "dear diary"-type revelation of losing his virginity on “Wet Dreamz.” Cole continues to showcase the growth of his vulnerability and storytelling skills on “03 Adolescence,” an apologetic reference to admiring a drug-dealing friend, who looked up to a college-bound Cole. “He just laughed when he seen I was sure/17 years breathing, his demeanor said more/He told me/Nigga you know how you sound right now/You are my mans/I would think you that you a clown right now/Listen, you’re everything I wanna be that’s why I fucks with you/So how you looking up to me? When I look up to you/You bout to go get a degree I’mma be stuck with two choices,” he raps.

After scolding himself, the self-proclaimed "king" specifically calls out a myriad of white artists (Eminem, Justin Timberlake, Macklemore and Iggy Azalea) for appropriating and co-opting black culture on “Fire Squad.” Some have deemed it a diss track, but it’s nothing of the sort. Before pointing fingers at his counterparts, he makes historical references to black music being stolen. Veering away from serious and controversial issues, Cole samples Project Pat on “No Role Modelz,” a comical ode to depthless women and hip-hop loveables like Trina, Aaliyah, dark skin Aunt Vivian (of "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air"), Sade and Nia Long.

The Southern rapper closes out the album with reflections. Due to being fatherless, Cole deems himself unqualified to play step-dad on “Hello,” displaying a mixture of singing and fast rapping about a “sad” lost love. On “Apparently,” one of many tracks that Cole produces on his own, he references purchasing his childhood home (2014 Forest Hills Drive), which his mother previously lost to foreclosure. A regretful Cole unveils that he was too busy chasing women to comfort his mother during the traumatizing ordeal. By the end of the album, two things are certain: Jermaine Cole is cocky enough to claim the thrown and humble enough to request unity amongst fellow rappers, including those he took shots at. Cole may not be the king of rap, but at least this time he didn’t let Nas down.

Comments

282
ADD COMMENTView Comment Thread