For one reason or another, I’ve never listened to J.Cole in any capacity, however there’s no real reason why, so I’m going into this review as if he were a brand new artist and this were his debut. For those of you on the same page as me, J.Cole is a 29-year-old american rapper who really isn’t a hot prospect- not that he hasn’t got the talent; he’s both critically and commercially acclaimed, what I mean is that he’s been about for a while, in which releasing three studio albums and an array of mixtapes.
First impressions of J.Cole? Sounds like Nas and Mos Def had a lovechild, with flickers of
Nelly, somebody like Nelly, Drake once he’s grown a pair. So as I’m a huge fan of Nas just like the rest of the world, and considering Black on Both Sides is one of my favourite albums, J.Cole is already impressing, and that’s just after track two had finished. So with these bold comparisons, as you can imagine J.Cole has an undeniable flow, and an even better wordplay and lyrical talent. Take this snippet from Fire Squad; ‘Same thing that my nigga Elvis did with Rock n Roll // Justin Timberlake, Eminem, and then Macklemore // While silly niggas argue over who gone snatch the crown // Look around my nigga white people have snatched the sound.’ Jesus, now that is some real fire.
2014 Forest Hills Drive is by no means an immaculate project, tracks like A Tale of 2 Citiez and G.O.M.D. could have been left out altogether, and I’m still debating wether he should be taking on every hook with the similar monotone, nearly-tuneful singing voice. The production is fairly scattered across the duration of the LP, with a lot of it echoing Late Registration meets Good Kid, Maad City, particularly St. Tropez. On this track he also sounds a lot like Pharrell’s almost-strenuous singing voice.
After listening to 2014 Forest Hills Drive I was really impressed by J.Cole, but not as much by the album. It’s good don’t get me wrong, and there’s a lot of outstanding raps from the man himself, but some of the music on the LP is debatable to say the least. While 2014 Forest Hills Drive hasn’t blown me away, I’m certainly going to be taking a look at J.Cole’s prior efforts, as one thing’s for sure, the guy can rap.
Verdict – WWW