We haven't heard much music from J. Cole since this summer when he released "Be Free," his moving tribute to Michael Brown and an emotional cry for freedom and justice. Since then, fans speculated to see if the hip hop artist would release anymore music. Just as folks were ready to wait until 2015 for something new, J. Cole decides to surprise everyone with the news of a new album before the end of the year.
Named after the address of his childhood home, 2014 Forest Hills Drive may be J. Cole's realest and most personal album to date. In a short mini doc that Cole's camp recently released, there are no explicit details about the forthcoming album per se. Instead, we get a heartfelt and honest glimpse into Cole's real world as he returns to his hometown of Fayetteville, North Carolina to show us some of his old stomping grounds from his adolescence. J. takes us on a tour of his favorite places such as his high school, where he reminisces about his first cypher battle, and other hangout spots such as the local skating ring and a neighborhood restaurant. We also get to see funny and adorable home video footage of young J. Cole and a montage with his friends doing normal things like eating fried chicken on the front door steps.
In addition to these personal clips, J. Cole takes the time to speak frankly about his constant struggle of putting his career first before the people in his life that matter most to him. He also touches on notions of artificial happiness, i.e. chasing after Hollywood success, versus real happiness, which comes from remaining grounded in the community that raised him and strengthening the relationships that made him the man that he is today.
Right now fans can pre-order 2014 Forest Hills Drive, which will be available on December 9th, on iTunes. If you are hoping to get a little taste of the project, you may have to wait until the official release. Apparently, Cole is not releasing any new singles to build anticipation for the release. It's a bold move to make in this singles-driven music industry; however, J. Cole has a strong fan base that will support his projects regardless. Plus, the decision not to release a single speaks volume to Cole's consistent mission for listeners to experience the album fully as a well detailed story from start to finish, rather than only listening to the radio hits. To tide you over until the album release, peep the short doc right here to get a better understanding of J. Cole, the person.