2014 Classic: J. Cole – "2014 Forest Hills Drive"
Mon, 15 Dec 2014 10:45:32
Who is like J. Cole? Nobody is like J. Cole. You can literally run through the list of today's hottest rappers (Kendrick Lamar, Young Thug, Rich Homie Quan, YG, ScHoolboy Q, A$AP Rocky, Future, etc.), and not one of them is anything like Mr. Jermaine Cole. That's why his music is going to last for years to come. You can't even compare him to gentlemen who came before regardless of their influence. We're looking at you Nas and Jay-Z. J. Cole has done the seemingly impossible and taken what's come before in hip-hop and elevated it to a new level altogether on his third full-length album 2014 Forest Hills Drive [iTunes link].
Eschewing guest appearances, 2014 Forest Hills Drive sees the MC at his most raw, vulnerable, and powerful. Whether he's pondering divinity on "January 28th" or blasting the competition on the smart and slick "Fire Squad", Cole unequivocally stands out. He doesn't follow anybody. Rather, he completely sets the pace. He had the guts to say what he says on "Fire Squad" about watching "Iggy win a Grammy", and it rings true. Awards Shows don't matter, and they never pick correctly. How long did it take Martin Scorsese to win an Oscar? Stanley Kubrick never won one either. That's beside the point though.
2014 Forest Hills Drive boasts some of the best storytelling in any art form period right now. "Wet Dreamz" remains so vivid you practically feel like you're there. Meanwhile, "St. Tropez" feels strangely somber and elegantly pensive with its jazz instrumentation and soulful hook. "G.O.M.D." flaunts one of his sharpest hooks, and "Apparently" takes things to a new plateau altogether, literally transforming this live song into entrancing blues. The piano and rap combo of "Love Yourz" feels starkly honest and undeniably hypnotic. 2014 Forest Hills Drive is a place you'll want to visit again and again.
No one is like J. Cole, and that's why he's here to stay. It's also why 2014 Forest Hills Drive is a new classic.
What's your favorite J. Cole song?