Cole teaches us an important life lesson on his third LP, 2014 Forest Hills Drive.
In honor of hip-hop’s 50th anniversary, we take a look back at the top artists, albums, producers and songs from 2009-present in the Age of Genius.
As 2014 approached, there was no denying J. Cole’s star power. He had achieved mainstream success with his first two studio albums, the 2011 album. Call World: Sideline Story and in 2013 born sinner, And his name was already being talked about as one of the next generation of great rap artists, among other major artists (such as Drake and Kendrick Lamar) emerging at the same time. But when all his dreams were coming true, Cole realized it was the wrong dream. On his third LP, 2014 Forest Hills DriveAlthough the album was Genius magazine’s top album of 2014 according to pageview numbers, Cole sought to strip away the fame and accolades and focus on what he was beginning to realize was really important in life. rice field.
Most of the production was done by Cole himself, 2014 Forest Hills Drive The Fayetteville, North Carolina rapper presents a raw portrait of his search for meaning in a materialistic world. This is a quest that Cole began when he realized he still felt unhappy, soon after his career took off. “I had to take a step back or step inside and look inside and think, ‘Why is this happening?’ , why am I always anxious and stressed?” he said NPR. And then I realized that was what I was clinging to. expectations. It’s like it doesn’t matter. External things that I have no control over. what other people think of me ”
Cole begins his journey with the album opener “Intro,” where he asks himself and others what he really wants out of life.
Do you want to be free, do you want to be free?
Do you want to be happy, do you want to be happy?
Over the next 13 songs, Cole keeps these questions in mind as he analyzes everything from his childhood to his romantic relationships to his rise to fame. Cole goes from horny teenager growing up in Fayetteville in “Wet Dreamz” to “B-list celebrity” seeking a relationship that offers more than just sex in “No role Modelz.” I will follow you. On her early songs like “A Tale Of 2 Citiez,” Cole still clings to the idea that the key to happiness is money – perhaps because he doesn’t have it yet. In the chorus of this song, he knows there will always be a part of him who believes those goals will be the solution to his grievances unless his dreams of fame and success come true.
Small town friend, Hollywood dream
I know that not all that glitters is gold
I know it’s not as good as it looks
But tell me until you know, how do you know?
By the time he gets to track 11, “Love Yourz,” Cole knows money isn’t the solution to his problems. I know that now that I have the money. “Looking chronologically through the album, I see the discovery of why love is ultimately what I should be looking for,” he explained. NPR. “You know, in my real life, I had to go through these things to understand the importance of love.” is summarized in
Will always be a better whip than you got
It will always be fresher than the clothes you wear
I’ll always be a worse bitch on tour
But you’ll never be happy until you love what’s yours
i don’t have call all the answer of forest hills, but. In many ways, even by the end of the album, he’s still learning to be the morally astute person he claims to be. For example, in his ninth cut, “No role Modelz,” Cole lives the Hollywood lifestyle he’s always dreamed of, but is still unable to have a meaningful romantic relationship. But instead of looking inward, he blames his insensitive behavior on a “fantasy hoe” living in Los Angeles.
Bring back five or six hoes to Hollywood
Fuck them, then kick them, friend, you know how it goes
She deserves it, she’s a bird, it’s a bird trap
Do you think she would cheat again if I didn’t rap?
Still, Cole finally manages to convey a key point about the value of love, maintaining mass appeal while showcasing technical skill with old-fashioned inspiration like Tupac. His ability to do so is certainly producing something wonderful. forest hills He was a hip-hop classic contender who unabashedly sought to create. The album was a critical and commercial success, reaching number one on the Billboard 200 and famously going platinum without a feature. “No Role Modelz” also gave Cole a Top 40 hit and has since been streamed over 1.6 billion times on Spotify.
But they are all just a bonus. The real achievement was that I was able to teach at least one of her important lessons through the project. After all, that’s what hip-hop played in his life. “I come back to the pack every year, and … every new year in my life gives me a new level of understanding,” he explained. “That’s why it’s like this.” [hip-hop’s] It’s very important…because we have the true power of the pen. we can say a lot. ”
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