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Rapper J. Cole calls commercialism to task with new album


Fayetteville, N.C.-born rapper J. Cole is back this week with his third studio album on Dec. 9 with his newest project 2014 Forest Hills Drive. The newest project’s name is inspired by the artist’s childhood home.

Cole has made headlines in the past few years with his increasing popularity and lyricism. He debuted with his mixtape, The Come Up in 2007. He soon gained attention when he signed with the one and only Jay-Z. The signature of his name onto the Roc Nation label led to him to skyrocket in popularity. His story-telling influences and versatile lyricism gained him enough respect to appear on Jay Z’s record-breaking album The Blueprint 3 in which he was graced with the opportunity to debut his flow on the world stage. But the fame and fortune didn’t sit right with Cole.

When asked why he would not be releasing singles for this next album, he revealed that he wanted to focus on getting back more to “real” hip-hop. As a result, he found himself travelling back home, and fulfilling a promise he had made to his mother: buying back his home that was foreclosed on when he was younger.

He spoke to many reporters about the idea he had of reconnecting with his roots. In one particular interview, he said: “And I don’t want [success] if it’s at the expense of my sanity or if I have to become someone who’s so out of touch with what’s real: the people that love you and the people that you love.”
Cole’s rise in popularity and love for old-school hip-hop has been a deadly combination for haters in the rap community. His ability to work with consistently new influences, while paying his respects back to the place he came from, has too worked in his favor.

Everyone should expect some great new lyrics and stories from Cole this time around. You have to give respect to the man who Hov has signed. You have to give it up for the man who has saved hip-hop along with Kendrick Lamar and Isaiah Rashad.

The new-generation of hip-hop has arrived and he is one of its trailblazers. I love Cole’s ideas with this new project. Hip-hop has become too commercialized. Performers look to gain radio attention rather than stay true to their values, but Cole hasn’t given in just yet.

Hip-Hop’s focus has always been the studio album, the stories it can tell and the versatility it can demonstrate. It’s impressive that one of the best in the game is risking everything to follow through on a promise he made to his mother.

Then again, 2Pac did the same and he is considered to be the greatest by many, if not all, loyal listeners. We should all thank Cole for not going for full commercial value. It’s impressive that a man of that stature and rise in the rap community would take such a definitive stance on his newest project. All in all, 2014 Forest Hills Drive is going to be a serious risk. That being said, look for Cole to deliver with great reward. He isn’t one to disappoint.

(photo Getty, via)

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Rapper J. Cole calls commercialism to task with new album