J. Cole - Forest Hills Drive: Live From Fayetteville, NC (A)

Speaking of setting bars, in my personal opinion 2014 was one of the best years in hip hop in a long time. Of the many solid releases, it was three specific albums that stood out to me. These albums weren't just my favorite that year, they were some of my favorites of the last 10 years. Run The Jewels 2, Logic’s debut Under Pressure, and J. Cole’s 2014 Forest Hills Drive are three albums that even now, in 2016, I have not stopped listening to. The best thing about these three is that they all provide me with something different. From those albums only one genuinely hit me on a personal level, while I couldn’t always relate to the stories or the situations, the message it presented was universal, and it’s no surprise to any of you that it’s J. Cole’s 2014 Forest Hills Drive. I’m sure it had the same punch for anyone that dedicated any time to it. 

This review will be short as it’s less a review then it is me letting you know that the album’s out and worth your time. THIS ALBUM IS WORTH YOUR TIME. There, mission accomplished. The energy here is insane, Cole has so much respect for the crowd, the music, and his message, there’s no way you won’t be affected. “Love Yourz”, the albums closer, is the pinnacle here. Opening the track with a speech about the important things in life, he tells you exactly who J. Cole is, what he’s about, and proves why he's not only one of the best in the game but will be for a very long time. His message is real, and I hope everyone listens. 

*Also if you have a chance, this is the album version of the concert-doc Cole released on HBO in January. If you have access to it it only enhances the experience, if you don’t…then get HBO.