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Mead High School’s Student News

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J. Cole’s album “2014 Forest Hills Drive” explores human condition

Deep messages and great rhythms make this album particularly enjoyable
The album “2014 Forest Hills Drive” is named after Cole’s childhood address as a way of closure.

On Dec. 9, 2014, J. Cole released his third album and he purchased his first house at the same time. J. Cole was born on a military base in Frankfurt, West Germany. His father was a veteran and his mother was a postal worker. When he was a baby, they relocated to  2014 Forest Hills Drive, North Carolina—the address that would later inspire the name of this album. 

2014 Forest Hills Drive contains 13 songs, each with the theme of Cole’s upbringing and the transition from leaving New York to North Carolina. The first few songs talk about his childhood. For example, “Intro” is the beginning song setting up the overall vibe and message of the album. 

Out of the 13 songs in the album, my favorites are “January 28th” and “Apparently.” I especially favor these songs because of the messages within them.

“January 28th” is a hip-hop, rap song that follows the artist’s journey towards becoming successful through his music. In the beginning lyrics, he said he was one of the greatest in his industry; Cole also shows in these lyrics the loss of a friend due to the dangerous conditions he grew up in. 

In this song, Cole said “If you believe in God, one thing for sure. If you ain’t aim too high, then you aim too low,” meaning that one should always strive for greatness and keep their faith no matter the obstacles. Cole painted vivid pictures of his life and growth using his rhymes in the song. 

The song “Apparently” is where J. Cole expresses his gratitude towards his mother’s unconditional love towards him and her faith in Cole despite him messing up various times. Cole reflected on his past with the comfort of his mother’s ability to love and support him regardless of the countless mistakes he may make. 

“January 28th” is mostly about ambition, self-reflection, and the human condition. This song inspires and encourages listeners to strive for success while staying grounded and remembering their roots.

“Apparently” has an overall message of always striving for better and appreciating those who have supported you through thick and thin.

The genre of this album was relaxed hip-hop and rap with sentimental meanings behind the songs capturing moments of Cole’s childhood. 

My overall rating of this album is 9/10.

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About the Contributor
Raul Mares, Writer
Raul Mares is a sophomore. It's his second year on The Mav. He's looking forward to writing a lot of great and interesting pieces for others to read and enjoy.
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