Music Review: J. Cole
Album: Forest Hill Drive
Released: November 16, 2018
Label: Roc Nation, Dreamville, ByStorm, Columbia
Producer: J. Cole, Mark Pitts, Cardiak, CritaCal, Dre Charles, Illmind, Jproof, Nick Paradise, Phonix Beats, Pop Wansel, Ron Gilmore, Vinylz, Willie B
Genre: Hip hop, conscious hip hop
There are claims that J. Cole’s “2014 Forest Hills Drive,” will forever be his most influential album because of how melodically pleasing it is. But his fifth and most recent album “KOD” touches on extremely important and relevant issues regarding drugs, addiction, and the downfalls of our current social media obsession. It is J. Cole’s most meaningful body of work so far, because drugs are killing more kids every year and J. Cole addresses that problem. His music, his album cover art and every song makes you think about how meaningless the message of a lot of rap music really is these days.
One of the tracks is “Kevin’s Heart” about Kevin Hart’s infidelity scandal. I know, I was shocked too.
Cole explains in a tweet one day before the album was released that the three meanings of KOD are:
“Kids on drugs, King overdosed, Kill our demons”
After the release of his single “false prophets” in 2016, J. Cole is no stranger to stirring up conflict by pointing out the problems of the rap industry. In the track, “1985 – Intro to “The Fall Off”,”J. Cole calls the new age “lil” rappers out. The track is more of an advice song than a diss-track though. He has been in the game for around ten years now, and schools the new rappers on why riding the waves of what is popular right now will only bring them failure in the near future. One of the album meanings, “Kids on drugs,” is arguably tied to all of the music that other top-tier rappers put out that glorify and depict drugs in a way that influences people to associate them with being “hard” or cool.
The introduction song really gets you ready for the theme of the album, which is that we have the opportunity to choose how we deal with our demons and we should “choose wisely.” He tried to create a full circle album that addresses the issue and suggests a solution, but if you sit and listen to the entire album trying to find his solution all you will find is a song about meditating. Don’t get me wrong- there was a lot that went right about this album, but I don’t think you can ignore the fact that J. Cole essentially claims in the track “FRIENDS” that instead of medicating we should just “meditate,” and the war on drugs and addiction will graciously disappear.