J. Cole found his mode. 2014 Forest Hills Drive is a snapshot of total exposure, regardless of the response it may garner from the casual fan. J. Cole isn’t turning up. He isn’t in the trap. He doesn’t care about what to do on a Tuesday. He’s steadied the flow, laced his confessionals with a healthy dose of piano keys, and dabbled in the realm of sing-songy hooks. None of this should wow you, and in that familiarity lies the beauty in Cole’s latest and greatest effort.
Contradictory bravado fuels “Fire Squad” and “G.O.M.D”, but when you dial in it’s far easier to hear an artist in tune with the realities of his world. He keeps a weary eye on social media, and clearly has a nonchalant bone to pick with his pale contemporaries who have crept in to capture those annual golden statues. Cole understands there’s a microscope aimed at his notepad, and he’s quick to dismiss his observations as jokes. Jokes aside, 2014 Forest Hills Drive is both an artistic milestone and a new creative bar set by today’s most captivating story teller.