2014 Forrest Hills Drive

Cole, a native of Fayetteville, N.C., has been rapping since the age of 12. After moving to New York for college, acquiring a record deal with Jay Z, and releasing a combination of multiple mixtapes and albums, here he is, 17 years later, releasing yet another collection of music.

The album, 2014 Forrest Hills Drive, is a reminiscence of Cole’s childhood, and a rearview mirror glimpse at the rights and wrongs of his life. Think The Marshall Mathers EP or Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City in terms of autobiographical content. Subject wise, the majority of the album is full of Cole’s past experiences and the struggles he was forced to endure growing up. “Wet Dreamz,” one of the main singles on the album, recalls Cole’s first time having sex with a girl. Although it probably isn’t something anyone wants to listen to on a daily basis, the impressive lyrical makeup balances out the unnecessary raunchy detail that is included in the four minute track.

Compositionally, the album outdoes Cole’s other predecessors by a mile. Although his sophomore debut, Born Sinner, was nothing to scoff at, neither is 2014 Forrest Hills Drive. More consistent, catchy, and radio ready, this album is a hip-hop jewel. Still full of the same soulfully crafted tunes like “G.O.M.D.,” the album possesses an interesting variety of songs best explored head first. “A Tale of Two Cities,” rapped in an “I hate the world,”  Eminem type fashion, is mixed oddly with twisted bells and chirping instrumentals– evocative of a Gambino-style song. In “Apparently,” Cole breezily raps about his mistakes as a younger man, belting out scratchy choruses unheard of in many of his tracks.

On a whole, the album is a success. Any unconformity or displeasure noticed is quickly forgotten in the midst of Cole’s homemade beats and self written ryhmes. Full of variety, the thirteen track collection gives the listeners honest insight into Cole’s past experiences and struggles. The colorful stories and first person honesty mesh well with the excellent variety of rhymes and rhythms on 2014 Forrest Hills Drive.