Rapper J.Cole released his third studio album today, 2014 Forest Hills Drive, named after the street he grew up on in North Carolina. The 29 year-old’s newest tracklist has been talked about for months on social media, especially in recent days after being leaked online. Overall, Cole’s album did not disappoint as he was able to yet again prove himself worthy as a talented musician with a promising future.
Early on, J.Cole’s ability to paint a picture with words is on full display. In smooth, slow beats, his lyrics review his career as well as experiences in his youth. As he progresses in the album, Cole’s beats escalate and his tone bounces back and forth from aggressive to relaxed.
One of his biggest verses comes in the song “Fire Squad” in which he disses popular artists like Iggy Azalea and Macklemore in today’s music culture, saying they have exploited the style of black artists on their paths to pop stardom.
Another notable tune from 2014 Forest Hills Drive is “Love Yours”. The harmonious balance between elaborated lyrics and easy-listening beat is achieved in what is arguably the best song on the album.
Though as a whole the album is sound, Cole’s lyricism faded in the second half, which featured too much of an instrumental sound that seemed as though Cole was trying to cover up his not-as-great lyrics. Perhaps this is due to the fact that no other artists were featured on the album.
Regardless, 2014 Forest Hills Drive is one of the better hip-hop albums released in 2014. J.Cole has established himself as one of the better artists in his genre, but at times his music makes the listener feels like Cole has something else to prove. If J.Cole keeps it simple and makes an attempt to collaborate with a couple of artists, look for a big album in 2015.