A Frame of Mind That Changed My Mind: J. Cole the Hypnotist
by Paris Lewis
“What's the price for a black man life? I check the toe tag, not one zero in sight I turn the TV on, not one hero in sight. Unless he dribble or he fiddle with mics.” One of the many lyrical verses on one of the greatest albums ever to be released…sounds sort of like Tupac right? These vocal words were actually rapped by Jermaine Lamarr Cole on his studio album 2014 Forest Hills Drive. If you ask me it is more than an album. J. Cole may be a rapper but to many he is a therapist. The album Forest Hills Drive contains 13 songs but if you ask me it consists of 13 different stories. “I wish that I, could tell her how I really feel inside. That I'm the perfect nigga for her, but then maybe that's a lie.” Picture these words in your head...GENIUS, I know!
Cole is such an asset to the music industry because his music not only has substance but he is also humble. The elite rapper grew up in a small town in Fayetteville, North Carolina and the album is dedicated to his experiences on a street called Forest Hills Drive and how it shaped him into the man he is today. Forest Hills Drive the street shaped J. Cole, but Forest Hill Drive the album has shaped the music industry and has impacted the lives of all of his fans. The album is not for simple minded people, but for those who are strategic, complex thinkers. Here is why…” You bout to go get a degree, I'ma be stuck with two choices. Either graduate to weight or selling number two. For what? A hundred bucks or two a week? Do you think that you would know what to do if you was me?” Some people will read this and will think okay…but there is a lesson. Everyone is not able to escape from their environment. Cole understood that he was truly blessed to make it out unlike some of his friends who had no choice but to deal and sell drugs. There is a great appreciation for J. Cole because like him I have not personally had to go through half of the things my friends have encountered but there is a great deal of respect for their hustle and ambition. The stories are not only Cole’s but his friends and for that I will always respect him. Cole connects with his fans through his music.
I can speak for myself when I say that the emotional appeal Cole uses is unbelievable. When I listen to J. Cole I feel free and there is a vibe that takes over my body that makes me feel like everything will be okay. Forest Hills Drive was testimony to the fact that good music still exists. When I listen to J. Cole I become hypnotized and everything that I am going through suddenly disappears. How? Let me explain. Forest Hills Drive was made for people such as myself. Those who are starting a new journey life and are chasing dreams, but are still finding themselves. The album is a front row seat into the life of J. Cole. “ … Small town nigga Hollywood dreams
I know that everything that glitters ain't gold. I know the shits not always good as it seems, but tell me till you get it how could you know” Lyrics from my second favorite song entitled “A Tale of 2 Citiez.” When I first heard these lyrics I was astonished…I asked myself, “What if everything I am doing now to be successful does not end with me being truly happy and what if being broke is better?” These are ways Cole connects with fans such as myself. The album causes you to appreciate the blessings you have now before you get caught up in being successful, but also that money can bring more pain than happiness. Forest Hills Drive causes young people such as myself to appreciate the ugliness that comes with being successful.
“J. Cole is the hypnotist, control the game whenever he snap. That's every track, nigga.” Cole said it himself on the track “January 28th” on the album Forest Hills Drive. The album “Forest Hills Drive went double platinum, but let’s make some things clear before we congratulate Cole on this remarkable accomplishment. It’s time to bring out the receipts. J. Cole is not a social rapper like Drake or Kendrick Lamar, meaning his fan base is not broad due to his lyricism and realism. In fact, I saw a tweet that called him “boring” but 140 characters was not enough to respond to their lack of consciousness. After many years of trying to please Roc Nation, he finally reached success on his own without the help of any other artists. The album went double platinum without any features. Let’s not forget the artist did not release any songs on the radio to create hype from a fan base that is not loyal. Lebron James has quoted a song from J. Cole on his Twitter account“Sideline Story” to be specific. Twitter went crazy and applauded Lebron for his musical taste. J. Cole does not receive half of the credit he deserves as a rapper. Cole without a doubt is one of the best rappers lyrically to ever live. The mindset of J. Cole that is shown through his music is extraordinary and there is always a lesson to be learned. J Cole is the mind, Kendrick is the soul and Drake is the heart. Forest Hills Drive gives you a personal look at the mastermind’s mind.
Cole, the modern-day Tupac…Hmm, that sounds right. Tupac was conscious and Cole, the hypnotist has made enough lyrical magic with pen and paper to prove he is worthy of such a comparison. Forest Hills Drive alone is enough to create a J. Cole fan. Here is why—J. Cole raps and tells stories that are relatable. There is always a valuable lesson to learn and it’s not because you have see him on television in trouble. The lessons are learned from the stories he gives us. What other rapper do you see teaching the importance of self-worth, humility and loving the people God has given you? “Love Yourz” the song made for all people, the song that speaks to the soul. “No such thing as a life that’s better than yours.” “Snakes in the grass let a nigga know that he arrived.” “For what's money without happiness? Or hard times without the people you love.” This song alone changed my outlook on life and proved that J Cole is a healer, therapist and anything that you need him to be as an artist. The song on his album Forest Hills Drive teaches a lesson not for me, not for you but for EVERYONE and I want everyone to learn this lesson and to share it with the world. The lesson is to stop comparing your life to those around you. If you cannot love yourself and value your own life you miss out on the little things in your life that matter; the people that love you regardless of what your zip code is. There are people in the world who are dirt broke, but have the biggest smile on their faces. “But you ain't never gon' be happy till you love yours.” All of this is taught in only 3:32 and lifetime worth of lessons in only 13 songs.
Jermaine Lamarr Cole the rapper of the people, by the people, for the people. Forest Hills Drive the album of the people, by the people, for the people. J. Cole might not win any awards, be the cover of any magazines, but he is doing what other rappers do not do and that is drop useful knowledge that can be carried on throughout life. A rapper like J. Cole should be valued and will go down in music history because any rapper can rap about money, hoes and clothes but it takes real, lyrical rapper to talk about the harsh realities of others. Whether a person is a fan or not you have to respect the artist. J Cole’s album Forest Hills Drive is an inspirational masterpiece. This is the album that changed the lives of his fans because his story proves that we too can be free and happy but it starts within. The album taught me to keep my faith strong, love my neighbors and that happiness comes from within. Now I am sharing this million dollar knowledge and am leaving you with this “This is my canvas I’m gone paint it how I want it.” This lyric is quoted on the song titled“Apparently”, the 11th track and it is stating it is your life, live it how you want to, paint the best picture for yourself and love every bit of it. Thank you J Cole.