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Album Review: "2014 Forest Hills Drive" by J. Cole

J. Cole bleeds honesty throughout his third studio album and it sits well with fans.

J. Cole released his third studio album 2014 Forest Hills Drive in which honesty throughout the album outdid any production on the record. Cole strayed away from collaborations and did not release any singles prior to the album’s release date, something he says was not necessary because the album speaks for itself and that it does.

It’s certainly his authenticity throughout the album that makes it a personal  success for the rapper who clearly poured his heart into tracks like “Apparently,” a song about being a college student in New York City while his mother was faced with foreclosure.

Cole is one of few rappers that is very much connected to reality. He appeared on the front lines of Ferguson, Missouri and again in New York City where he also took part in protests in honor of Eric Gardner. It’s no surprise that in his experiences he found inspiration for tracks like “January 28th” where he questions, “What’s the price for a black man life?,” a question that has raised much concern regarding police brutality in recent news.

“Love Yourz” is a song that explores fame and fortune vs. reality in which Cole explores his constant struggle to stay in sync with reality despite his success and celebrity status. It’s here that he speaks on self-defined happiness and self-fulfillment, in which he sings, “No such thing as a life that’s better than yours.”

What makes 2014 Forest Hills Drive so great is not only the honesty that bleeds through each track, but the fact that J. Cole successfully makes any listener empathize for him, making you see the world through his eyes and feel the very emotions he feels. Regardless of how it does on the charts, and how many singles it does or doesn’t produce, 2014 Forest Hills Drive is an honest record that deserves recognition and appreciation for its authenticity.

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