The Teen Appeal

Giving truth to Memphis youth

J. Cole takes aim at rappers in new album

By Osarugue Otebele (Hollis F. Price Middle College High School)

The first single of rapper Jermaine Lamarr Cole’s album contains a chorus that many fans found themselves singing along to this past fall.

“I keep my head high, I got my wings to carry me, I don’t know freedom, I want my dreams to carry me,” the Fayetteville, North Carolina-native sings in this aspirational tune.

If you know these lyrics and the name of this song, chances are you have you either bought J. Cole’s album or you listen to hip hop radio. But for those who don’t, those lyrics come from his hit song “Apparently” off his album “2014 Forest Hill Drive.”

The album caused a frenzy from rap fans all over the country after its release in December. From song covers, to memes and more, the album has captured the hearts of many.  The album went platinum without any other featured artists. No other rapper has achieved this feat since Vanilla Ice in 1989. J. Cole had no singles and scheduled few television appearances and interviews before the release of the album, which is also unusual.

Where the platinum-selling album gets its name from may come to a surprise to those unfamiliar with the artist. 2014 Forest Hill Drive is the address of the home that J. Cole’s family used to live in, but that was foreclosed on while he attended St. John’s University in New York.

After making enough money through rapping, J. Cole was able to buy the house back for his mom last year. The album includes other notable songs such as “Note to Self,” “Hello, and “No Role Modelz.” The songs on the album were lyrically close to perfection and it brought out the softer side to the rapper that fans don’t usually see.

Each song had its own personal meaning with each lyric aimed at touching the heart of fans. J. Cole also took this chance to criticize rappers who he felt were in need of some truth such as Iggy Azealea and Macklemore. Overall with this album, J. Cole truly showed his talent for rapping.


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