Today in Hip Hop History: December 9, 2014
One year ago today, J. Cole released his third studio album, 2014 Forest Hills Drive, through his own Dreamville Records. The album received minimal marketing and promotion, with it being announced three weeks before its release and having no singles.
2014 Forest Hills Drive was primarily produced by J. Cole himself, with additional help from Vinylz, Illmind, Willie B and more. It contained no outside vocal features.
The album is titled after J. Cole’s childhood home in Fayetteville, North Carolina. The original house was foreclosed while J. Cole was in college in 2003, and he returned in 2014 to buy it as his first purchased house. The lyrical content on the album speaks much on his personal life from North Carolina to moving to New York, and his struggles involved in making it in the music industry.
The album peaked at #1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 and U.S. Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums Chart. It became RIAA Certified Platinum in 2015, apparently making it the first hip hop album to go Platinum with no features since Vanilla Ice‘s 1989 album To The Extreme.
2014 Forest Hills Drive won several accolades, including Top Rap Album at the 2015 Billboard Music Awards and Album of the Year at the 2015 BET Hip Hop Awards. As of two days ago, 2014 Forest Hills Drive received 2 Grammy Award nominations for the show set in February 2016: Best Rap Performance (“Apparently”) and Best Rap Album.