Only three weeks after he announced the release of his third official studio album, J Cole's 2014 Forest Hills Drive has hit the shelves along with the visual for his first single "Apparently".
The album is an impressive display of Cole's lyrical and production skills. Arguably his best album to date, there are no obvious commercial singles comparable to "Crooked Smile" or "Power Trip", taken from his previous album Born Sinner (2013).
Keeping to the smooth hip hop vibe of the album, "Apparently" depicts Cole's road into the music industry and it's impact on his family. The lyrics state: "Think back to Forest Hills, no perfect home, but the only thing like home I've ever known. Until they snatched it from my mama and foreclosed her on the loan, I'm so sorry that I left you there to deal with that alone". In an act of touching nostalgia Cole bought his childhood home on Forest Hills Drive earlier this year, 11 years after his mother had lost the house in 2003.
The video is a simple backdrop of fuzzy home videos and Cole in the foreground subtly singing, rapping and dancing. The video makes you focus on the lyrics and garner the passion and expression from J Cole himself without being in-your-face. A genuinely gratifying video, single and album; one of the best hip hop releases this year.
2014 Forest Hills Drive
- Roc Nation
- 9th December 2014