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  • Writer's pictureMalcolm Williams

New Classics #3: 2014 Forest Hills Drive

It’s been a while since I’ve played in this arena. The pursuit of honing my craft in the world of being a music artist completely snatched all of my focus. Inspired so much by J. Cole I felt it was only right that came back to this platform speaking about the album that put him in the Realm of the Gods. 2014 Forest Hills Drive is a bonafide Masterpiece in my eyes. I won’t berate you if you don’t agree but I’ll have some questions for you. What makes FHD a Masterpiece you ask? Let’s start with the fact that there is nary a skip in site. On top of that and probably more importantly the sequencing is impeccable. From the ‘Intro‘ down to ‘Note to Self’ I to this day will throw the album on and let it ride. I don’t think it’s Cole’s best produced album as far as having the biggest beats goes but I feel like it’s Cole’s most balanced, high quality production. Meaning there’s less lows on this album than any other project in his catalogue. Do I even have to speak about Content when I speak of Jermaine… Cole??? FHD came at a time in my life where I had just move to North Carolina and didn’t really know a lot of people but met some of my best friends to this day discussing this album. In those conversations I found that we were discussing our personal life values and situations in the midst of having conversations about the Content on the album and that’s how some of that instant chemistry came about. I remember turning the album on and hearing “do you wanna be happy.. do you wanna be free?” during a time where I probably wasn’t in the best place mentally and instantly being locked in. The ‘Intro’ finishes and I heard that beat for ‘January 28th’. “The real is back, the Ville is back flow banana, here, peel this back…” I went crazy when I heard that for the first time, it’s crazy that that‘s pretty much the calling card now whenever Cole is finna release a new album. I ran around yelling that for like a week after “The Off-Season” dropped. ‘January 28th’ set the tone perfectly for the album because it spoke to many situations that were and still are very relevant to the world today. Black plight, lack of diversity in Black Heroes‘ paths, lying ass rappers, and most importantly being extreme confident in what you do. I could talk about all the songs that we always talk about like ‘Wet Dreamz’, ‘Fire Squad’ and maybe ‘No Role Modelz’ but for me the song that I mostly resonate with is ‘Apparently’. “I keep my head high, I got my wings to carry me, I don’t know freedom, I want my Dreams to rescue me…” bro whenever I listen to these words, whether it’s the first time or even now while I’m writing this article I just feel it. This is one of the songs that I would put on the ‘Songs that define’ list. When my Faith was in the reconstruction process this was/is one of the songs that said/says “Yo everyone has there down moments and things to grow from but keep your Faith strong.” And even within me catching that vibe this nigga still let us know “I’m still better than y’all!!” I’m gonna end this thing real soon but let me just say ‘Note to Self’ is a fucking vibe dawg. It’s so simple but so elegant and such an amazing way to finish an album. And Cole shouted out an artist that’s on Dreamville named Cozz and his album that I’m sure I’ll be speaking about in this very segment sooner than later called ‘Cozz and Effect’. That album is absolutely amazing but this is a J. Cole article, Jermaine.. Cole (shoutout them Rdc World boys. Proud of y’all). I’m so happy I was able to experience this Classic album and for me to now be trying to build my own legacy in this music game just 6 minutes away from 2014 Forest Hills Drive is just more inspiration for me to keep rocking in this game. I’m so happy and proud to say that J. Cole is an artist that I study and look up to the same way basketball players look up to Michael, Kobe and LeBron.

I wanna take one more moment to thank you guys for reading this article and for supporting me in my journey as a creative. I know I‘ve been gone for a long time but I’m back!!! I love you guys.

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