REVIEW: J. Cole “2014 Forrest Hills Drive”

J. Cole’s third studio album is a breath of fresh air that inspires hope for hip-hop going into 2015. Cole breaks barriers with this new release. The album dropped with no singles which is something the rapper hasn’t done before. After hearing the strength of the product it’s hard to see how one would even begin the process of trying to pick a single with so many great tracks. Cole is like an open book with this project, and each song reveals his growth.

 2014 Forrest Hills Drive solidifies J. Cole’s position as a great story teller and lyricists.  Throughout the album he tackles popular topics such as the state of hip-hop, cultural controversies, and demons of his own. The concept and theme of the album is portrayed well. The title of the album is the address of Cole’s childhood home and the songs reflect him reminiscing on growing up and coming back home now.

The intro to the album encompasses all of that. Cole asks “Do you want to be happy? Do you want to be free?,” and goes on talk about looking at how far he’s come. The best line from the intro has to be “they say that dreams come true and when they do it’s a beautiful thing.”

“Wet Dreamz”, “’03 Adolescence”, and “A Tale of 2 Citiez” are great examples of his ability to weave a story together over a beat. “Wet Dreamz details the story of his first time with the catchy hook “I ain’t never did this before” over a sped up sample of “Mariya” by Family Circle.

“’03 Adolescence” reveals thoughts and memories of growing up in Fayetteville. The best part about this track is the conversation Cole has with his friend who gives him a reality check and makes him grateful for what he has.

“A Tale of 2 Citiez” is a favorite off the album. The beat alone gets you hooked, and then the title plays into the song as it describes two different points of view of a robbery.

The next set of tracks are heavy-hitters on the project. In “Fire Squad” J. Cole takes the crown as the hottest artist and in the same song destroys the title. He blames rappers trying to out do each other and fight for a title is the reason why artists like Macklemore and Iggy Azalea can come in and steal “Album of the Year” awards. The song is a wake up call for hip-hop.

“St. Tropez” feeds into the next song on the track. It describes how at this point Cole has made it and is successful.

“G.O.M.D.” is definitely one of the best songs on the album, and one of the singles. J discusses issues with naysayers from his home town and sums up how he feels about thoughts on him “going Hollywood” in 4 words. There’s also insight to his relationship and his faithfulness, or lack of.

“No Role Modelz” would’ve made a great single for the album. The hook locks you in but there’s a lot of meaning in this track. Cole describes not having any role models to look up to, the lack of good relationships, and girls who are obsessed with living the life of women depicted in reality TV shows. “Fool me one time shame on you. Fool me twice, can’t put the blame on you. Fool me three times, f*** the peace sign, load the chopper, let it rain on you” in my opinion are the hottest lines of the song.

The album wraps up with what I like to call “sit back and think” tracks. The beats are a little slower but it allows you to focus on what he’s saying.

“Hello” seems to be an ode to someone in his past, and he’s telling them about where he’s at in life. The title seems fitting. He rhymes like he hasn’t talked to them in a long time. Cole also discusses the emotion that comes with reminiscing on certain things.

“Apparently” is the first single for the album. This and the album intro are the only songs with visuals so far. This is another standout track. Cole starts out pretty much saying he can say what he want. He’s so open and truthful in the first verse. He details the foreclosure of his childhood home as well as his relationship with his mother. The gist of the song is despite everything there’s still people that believe in him. It’s really beautiful and the video is minimalistic but made me love the song even more. Peep the video below:

“Love Yourz” and “Note to Self” wrap up the album. “Note to Self” also serves as the his “thank you’s” for those that were involved. The track is 14 minutes long but definitely worth listening to the whole thing at least once.

The album is solid and just what I needed. J. Cole is one of those artists that can put out bodies of work that somehow correlate with what’s going on in your life at the moment. There’s always something you can pick out in each song that speaks directly to you. The debate is whether the project holds up to Born Sinner. I can’t compare the two. They both serve different purposes and have different concepts. A lot has happened between the two albums. In my opinion the only thing different between Born Sinner and 2014 Forrest Hills Drive is more songs and features on the sophmore album. But 2014 Forrest Hills Drive wasn’t meant to do what  Born Sinner did, and definitely shows that J. Cole can hold his own over an entire album. There’s a lot of artists you know you can’t listen to unless there’s a feature, and half the time the feature is why you’re listening in the first place.

The album is personal and real. Cole is so open and honest. I think the concept behind it is great and  the timing for the project is perfect. There isn’t one song I can bring myself to skip over. Be sure to support and buy it (leak lovers)!

 

Nipsey Hussle’s $1000 “Mailbox Money” Album + Nashville Performance (Photo + Video Recap)

Nipsey Hussle recently released the album artwork for his forthcoming “Mailbox Money” album as well as announced that 100 hardcopies of the album would be for sale for $1000 a piece. With the success in his last project Crenshaw, Nipsey made over 100,000.00 in sales as they were sold at $100.00 each. We can see why the California native would take the same approach. Don’t be alarmed though, the project will still be available for free online.

While the news spread around the globe yesterday, we were preparing to welcome Crenshaw’s finest and camp to our home base in Nashville, TN. Nipsey’s first visit was all thanks to the new concert series “Live In the Studio” put together by Robert Higgins and Co. Several fans visisted Nipsey’s pop-up shop and purchased merchandise before heading to Agenda for the night’s main show. The show also featured opening support from Nashville’s Mike Floss, Mann Wells, and Rikki Blu. DJ VIP took the stage and Nipsey followed shortly after being welcomed with loud chants and requests for various songs from the archives.

Performing many tracks including Checc Me Out, U See Us,  and Take Days Off, Nipsey Hussle voiced his love and appreciation for his fans. It’s pretty evident that his growing success comes from the humbleness behind his entire camp. Check out our video and photo recap in case you missed the show. Nipsey Hussle’s Mailbox Money coming sooner than later. Photo credits: Andre Rowlett, Video creds: Jama Mohamed.

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NEW MUSIC: The Blackson “Fighting For My Life”

Nashville emcee, The Blackson, is back with a new track for the creatives entitled “Fighting For My Life.” The Blackson relays a southern helping of original hip hop as he passes out food for the spirit all while pushing adlibs from various classic hip hop artist. Blackson is another ‘told you so’ artist that we can see going far if he continues to stay hungry and passionate about the music. The entire Blackcity collective, which Blackson is apart of,  each bring something to the table  with their talents.Check out Fighting For My Life below:


If you haven’t already checked out The Blackson’s Blackson Rising project, enlighten yourself below. Visit The Blackson’s Soundcloud page for more music.

NEW MUSIC: JayDotRain Gets It By the “Dozen” in New Track

Alabama emcee, JayDotRain is back with a new track entitled “Dozen.” The 3rd Eye produced track features a hip hop influenced bang as WuTang’s C.R.E.A.M. is sampled in the beat. While we are awaiting Jay Dot Rain’s Trap Jazz album, we hear the emcee will be releasing an EP entitled “Live From Rehearsal” to hold us over. Check out Dozen below.

NEW VIDEO: Scotty ATL ft. B.O.B. & IAMSU! -Nun But A Party

Atlanta’s Scotty ATL released the highly anticipated Spaghetti Junction which featured Big Gipp, Bun B, and many others on the mixtape. Scotty is back and drops off the music video for his track Nun But A Party, which features B.O.B and California artist IAMSU! The video was shot in California and has a few cameos including Travis Porter. Check the video out above.

NEW MUSIC: Overdoz. ft. Childish Gambino & King Chip- 7,000 Girls

Although we haven’t saw much from California group Overdoz, the collective has been hard at work preparing us for their debut album, 2008. The group releases a new single entitled 7,000 Girls which features a Childish Gambino and King Chip. The single features authentic production from Patrick Paige (The Internet) and gets us excited for what’s to come from the Los Angeles group. Check out 7,000 Girls below.

NEW MUSIC: Key Wane ft. Ty Dolla $ign- Same Ni**a (prod. by Key Wane)

Detroit producer, Key Wane has been on a constant incline as he’s produced nothing but classic releases for Beyonce, Tyga, Meek Mill, Jhene Aiko, Big Sean, and countless others.Today, we release Key Wane’s most recent released track featuring Ty Dolla $ign entitled Same Ni**a. The track is built off a soulful vibe alongside keys and a melodic sample in which Ty Dolla lays a couple verses over to make the track complete. Key Wane is currently working on his forthcoming EP entitled From Now ON.

NEW MUSIC: Chuck Taylor Prepares us for 2015 with “Hallelujah”

Nashville emcee, Chuck Taylor, isn’t your typical rapper as he releases his first track “Hallelujah” off a project that is set to release at the top of the year. As cliche’ as it may sound, Taylor preaches to his listeners on daily issues one may face regarding contradictions, self hate, and respect all balled into one track. The visual was created by Mario Kristian and the track was produced by Greedy Money. “Half Empty, Half Full” due out in 2015.

NEW MUSIC: Tim Gent Proves Consistency with “Don’t Let Up”


Talk about consistent releases as Clarksville, TN emcee Tim Gent releases his newest single Don’t Let Up. The emcee first drew our attention with his track “Time Management” and has sense released nothing but refreshing tracks. With his talents in holding a note as well as relaying a message through verse, Tim Gent is on the steady incline in our ‘artists to watch.’ Don’t believe us? Visit Gent’s Soundcloud page and thank us later.

Tim Gent is currently working on a new project but there is no for sure release date at the moment. Follow him on Twitter for more updates.

NEW VIDEO: Travis Scott Releases “Mamacita” Video ft. Young Thug & Rich Homie Quan

Travis Scott releases his highly anticipated “Mamacita” visual which features Atlanta’s Rich Homie Quan and Young Thug. The video features the three together in an abandoned parking lot with shots of neon-colored vixens dancing around Trav. Not the trippy, cinematic visuals we are use to seeing from Scott but quite the video to watch if you enjoyed the song as much as we did on the past project. Check the video out above.