J. Cole's third album is a huge leap forward, offering his most personal and willfully independent release to date. Titled after the North Carolina address where he grew up, 2014 Forest Hills Drive presents unflinchingly deep examinations of the rapper's coming-of-age years (“03’ Adolescence,” “No Role Modelz”). The production gets lush and soulful (“G. O. M. D.”) as he looks at his beginnings and where his life has led him, and his delivery is as subtle and sophisticated as the beats surrounding it (which Cole himself also made). The emcee's celebrity never gets the best of him—it's tough to imagine another rapper willing to chronicle his awkward exit from virginity like Cole does on "Wet Dreamz”—which helps make this album a thoughtful, nuanced picture of the journey from boy to man. Stay Connected. Twitter: @JColeNC Instagram: RealColeWorld

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