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J. Cole is an American rapper and songwriter, best known for his storytelling and rapping ability in his songs. He dropped his critically acclaimed album, “2014 Forest Hills Drive” in 2014.

At this point in time, J. Cole had already established himself as one of the best rappers in the game with previous albums such as “Born Sinner” and “Cole World: The Sideline Story”; however, he felt like he still had more to prove as a young rapper. “2014 Forest Hills Drive” was his third studio album and arguably his best. This album is a very personal album to J. Cole, as the title is the address of his childhood home in Fayetteville, North Carolina. It was the location where Cole worked on his earliest work and decided to pursue a career in the music industry. The overall message in this album is to find your true happiness in life, no matter what it may be. A heavy undertone is also the idea of him coming back down to earth, as his music career sort of shot him into stardom and made him into a celebrity, which is discussed in later songs. Cole is grateful for everything that has happened to him and how he rose to fame; but, sometimes he misses what it was like back when he wasn’t “famous” and didn’t have a lot of money. A famous saying about this situation would be, “money can’t buy happiness,” and it looks like Cole heavily believes in that throughout his work in this album.

This album is a great listen, and it’s partly due to the fact that every song is great and truly feels personal to Cole. The album opens up with bangers such as “January 28th,” which is a reflection on his road to success and fame. After that, there are great songs such as “03’ Adolescence” and “A Tale of 2 Citiez,” which are again, all very personal to Cole as “03’ Adolescence” covers how he feels that he grew up as a failure and that he got a chance to redeem himself in this “new life.” The next song, “A Tale of 2 Citiez,” is one of his most deep songs. In this track, he covers the story of one city but in two different perspectives. The two characters in this song are both trying to escape the poverty in their city, but in different ways. After this song, there are songs such as “G.O.M.D.,” which isn’t necessarily as serious, but is still a great song nonetheless, where the rapper addresses all of his haters. The album then goes into Cole’s biggest hit, “No Role Modelz,” which has surpassed over 2 billion streams. The context of this song is that Cole believes that to “save” someone, it means to provide love and care in hopes of them hopefully escaping the toxic cycle of chasing fame. To end the album, there is what could possibly be the rapper’s best song in “Love Yourz,” which talks about the importance of being aware of how blessed you are to be alive in this life; no matter what you’re going through, you’re still alive. This song has some of the best written and most impactful lyrics in hip-hop history and deserves to be talked about for decades to come.

This album is deemed as being the album that went platinum with no features. This album has not only gone platinum once, but three times. In this day and age, features play such an important part in the streaming of a rapper’s music. Whether one artist introduces the other to new music with their feature or it just gets new people to listen, even if it’s just once. Cole did this without any features, which is not easy to do. In fact, it is Cole’s biggest accomplishment in this music industry; however, it could honestly be one of the biggest accomplishments in the history of the music industry, not just in J. Cole’s career.

In the final analysis, “2014 Forest Hills Drive” is an excellent example of a rapper bringing their personal life into their music and it working so well. Overall, this album deserves 5/5 stars and should be talked about for years to come.

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About the Contributor
Robert Carcelli
Robert Carcelli, Entertainment Writer
Robert is a Junior at Struthers High School and is 17 years old. He is an Entertainment Writer in Journalism II. Robert is a football player for the varsity team and loves to workout in his free time. His favorite musician is Kanye West and his favorite movie is “The Batman.” Robert enjoys hanging out with his friends outside of school, too. Robert expects to finish the year with good grades and a solid football season to look back on.
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