J. Cole was that high school kid that kept saying “Ms. Bell, imma be a rapper one day.” I would respond by nodding and saying “OK well let’s just work on getting your project done for now.” Then I’d think “J is a great kid. He just needs to apply himself. ” Forest Hills Drive is J. Cole giving his personal stories by applying himself lyrically in a manner we have yet to see from him. The result is the number one album in the country and the best selling Hip-Hop album of the year. Forest Hills Drive has a coming of age theme with topics ranging from Cole’s first sexual encounter to the numbness of growing up without a father. He channels his inner Mos Def with raspy slow singing over a melancholy beat in “Apparently.”
Cole is great at giving the listener a story they can identify with. Being accessible is the key to remaining relevant at a time where it’s easy for the average music listener to get lost in the quantity vs. quality of Hip-Hop. Lately, listeners who haven’t given up on Hip-Hop have been flooded with subpar lyrical content and catch phrases over hype beats. J. Cole balances the status quo by offering you a selection of anthems to compliment your perception of day-to-day life.
Cool facts about the album…
- The album is titled after his address in North Carolina.
- There aren’t any featured artists on this album.
- The album was released without any supporting singles.
- I did not see ONE commercial promoting this album. His promo team took a different approach.
Find the album, buy it, listen to it, or all of the above. It’s worth it.