J.Cole’s latest album satisfies

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2014 Forest Hills Drive album cover.

2014 Forest Hills Drive album cover.

Peter Conway
Staff Writer


Jermaine Lamar Cole (J. Cole) dropped his album, 2014 Forest Hills Drive, today, December 9th 2014.  As I sit here and listen to the story of his life, I am positively satisfied.

Once again, J. Cole lives up to our expectations just as he had previously done with his albums; Cole World – The Sideline Story, and Born Sinner. J.Cole has the lyrical ability to paint any picture in just one verse and with this he tactfully created the music to depict a new found awareness of himself.

2014 Forest Hills Drive is J. Cole’s life story starting from his young childhood in Fayetteville, North Carolina through the path he chose that has transformed him into the performer he is today.

He begins the album with the a song titled January 28th, which gives an overview of the success he has had as an artist, and the affect it has had on him. He has an inner struggle that stems from the idea that he does not want to lose the sense of self he had as a teenage boy growing up on Forest Hills Drive.

The rest of the album takes listeners through his inner struggle to find the courage to pursue his dream, and eventually how he realized fame was not the life he expected it to be.

One of the slower tracks on the album, Adolescence gives the listener a look inside to the thought process he had growing up in his hometown. He felt the pressure as a teenager to follow the path of several generations before him not to go to college.

He begins the song by addressing his lack of hope as a teenager, stating, “I’m just watchin’ from the side on the bench/ My lack of confidence won’t let me fly… Four years or so from now, I probably cry when I realize what I missed”

As the song progresses Cole begins to realize his potential and makes a promise to his mother to be something greater. He says, ” Thank you mom/ dry you eyes/ there ain’t no reason to cry/ you made a genius and I ain’t gonna take it for granted.”

In those words he makes the transition from waiting on the sidelines to taking the steps to reach his potential. As a listener, the song makes me feel like I owe it to myself to live up to my potential. The lyrics make me realize, that even in such different lifestyles, we all struggle to break out of our shell.

Cole picks up the tempo as he portrays the transition to fame in the song G.O.M.D. This track gives the listener an idea of how abrupt the change in his life was. He realized as soon as he achieved fame that things such as getting a woman to talk to him were much easier, but he missed his old life.

Cole states his sense of concern, solemnly singing, “Lord will you tell me if I changed/ I won’t tell nobody/ I wanna go back to Jermaine and I don’t tell nobody.”

He wants to be Jermaine, his old self, rather than “J.Cole”, the new persona he has created for himself, because he wants to make sure he is still the same man he was in his home town.

To me, G.O.M.D., is somewhat of a reminder that I don’t need that lifestyle to be happy and not everything is always what it seems. The song creates a the strong message that is tied with a strong base that makes your  head bob with the beat.  It is easily one of my favorite songs on the album.

One of the more personal songs on the album, Hello, is about Cole’s ex-girlfriend back in Fayetteville. He wants to be with her, but as he thinks about it he recognizes within the song that the reality of that happening doesn’t exist.

This track, although it carries an important piece of Cole’s life, is my least favorite track on the album. I wish he went more in depth with his lyrics or at least created more of a beat to could get me hooked.

My favorite track on the album however is Love Yourz, which has the most simple message of all.

The hook repeats itself, and makes it too clear to not understand. It goes, “No such thing as a life that’s better than yours.”

This is Cole’s final realization that he is grateful for all that he has and has had. His thankfulness is the reason he dedicates the album’s name to the street that is the foundation for who is today, Forest Hills Drive.

He realizes that its not worth it to focus on the bad in his success and purely focus what he is going to do with his success.

He speaks upon his rap career, singing, “Quick, do something before you lose it for good/ Get it back and use it for good/ Touch the people like how you did before.”

Cole successfully touched my soul, just as he has done in his past albums. 2014 Forest Hills Drive is absolutely worth a listen.