Metascore
67

Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
Buy On
  1. Dec 12, 2014
    80
    J. Cole is righfully satisfied with the end product, as will the fans.
  2. Dec 9, 2014
    80
    Forest Hills Drive has enough twists and turns to inspire an almost schizophrenic stream of reactions.
  3. Dec 9, 2014
    80
    He shines without any features, standing strong in his delivery and carrying his story to the forefront of the 13-track project.
  4. Dec 9, 2014
    80
    Its narrative, the tropes, and the strategies are completely overcome by the albums terrifying integrity. It is immensely relatable because it is not afraid to be corny and cliche.
  5. 75
    A deeply skilled empathizer, Cole can put you in his shoes too.
  6. Dec 9, 2014
    75
    He's been afforded a rare amount of artistic freedom on 2014 Forest Hills Drive and there aren't even any singles, so it's great that he's more or less delivered. But whilst this definitely misses out on classic territory, that doesn't mean it isn't a bloody good album for the most part.
  7. Dec 15, 2014
    70
    All these flights of fancy fly freely since the album lacks an anchor. 2014 Forest Hills Drive comes off as a great, experimental, and advancing mixtape, but it's insider to a fault, as slight as that fault might be.
  8. Dec 11, 2014
    69
    2014 Forest Hills Drive is a decent album selling itself as great. It wraps itself in the garments of a classic, but you can see that the tailoring is off.
  9. Uncut
    Feb 3, 2015
    60
    You long for a bit more of the ardour of "Fine Squad." [Mar 2015, p.73]
  10. Jan 5, 2015
    60
    He speaks some incisive truths about class, race ("Fire Squad") and relationships ("Wet Dreamz"), but those insights are too often undercut by crass humor. The production falls short, too, with dull beats to match his languid flow.
  11. Dec 18, 2014
    60
    Consistent, yes, but not the king yet.
  12. Dec 17, 2014
    60
    Quite possibly rushed so the house number could match the year, J. Cole's latest album is a damn good attempt, but it just isn't the real deal.
  13. 60
    In the end it is a work crippled by its own indecision, and perhaps bowed by the weight of expectation: a shame, for sure, but hardly a reason to lose faith.
  14. Dec 15, 2014
    60
    He’s a smart, self-assured lyricist--confident enough to end with a 14-minute thank-you track--but not as interesting in his contradictions as the likes of Drake or Kanye West.
  15. Dec 9, 2014
    60
    Cole's keen sense of injustice registers throughout 2014 Forest Hills Drive, whether slagging white artists for artistic thievery or seething over national media outlets pigeonholing black genius into sports/pop either/ors.... But the absence of "Be Free" still detracts. Unless you're the type of moviegoer who sits patiently through the end titles, feel free to duck out of "Note to Self" a bit early and head over to SoundCloud.
  16. Dec 15, 2014
    50
    He’s undeniably an intelligent MC with a sense of social justice, which makes all the half-realized ideas, indulgence, and misogyny (clueless “No Role Modelz”) puzzling.
  17. Dec 12, 2014
    50
    On 2014 Forest Hills Drive , we’ve still got the same ol’ Cole, but with diminishing returns and without any friends to help him.
User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 474 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 33 out of 474
  1. Dec 16, 2014
    0
    really boring album. cole isn't interesting or entertaining. same boring beats, really bad lyrics, no engery, no charima from bole he's blandreally boring album. cole isn't interesting or entertaining. same boring beats, really bad lyrics, no engery, no charima from bole he's bland and tasteless like rice cake or a piece of bread Full Review »
  2. Dec 9, 2014
    10
    Jermaine Cole has shown excellent growth as an artist with this brilliant LP. I'm proud to call myself a fan of his, and I'm anticipating hisJermaine Cole has shown excellent growth as an artist with this brilliant LP. I'm proud to call myself a fan of his, and I'm anticipating his next body of work. Shout Cope Fam. Full Review »
  3. Dec 12, 2014
    4
    There is no rap artist out there now who I want to love more than J. Cole. He seems like a great guy who is very open, which I love in aThere is no rap artist out there now who I want to love more than J. Cole. He seems like a great guy who is very open, which I love in a rapper. For example, I love guys like Drake, 808's Kanye, and Kid Cudi. I have no problem with rappers being a bit "soft" to get stuff off their chest, but damn does he struggle when he does this. He cannot sing to save his life and whenever he has some great, personal bars, he always follows them up with something incredibly corny. For example, the track "Wet Dreamz" is very personal and I appreciate his openness on it, but it just comes off as corny and I cannot help but laugh at the thought he decided to put it on his album. The track and "St. Tropez", "Hello", and "Note to Self", are undoubtedly the worst ones here, largely thanks to the singing on those latter three. He cannot sing, yet decides to basically just sing on all three of them. Whose decision was that? Who told him he could sing? If anybody ever complimented his singing, they were lying. The beats are also just ok here. None of them are overly interesting, aside from on the four tracks that really stood out to me, "A Tale of 2 Citiez", "Fire Squad", "GOMD", and "No Role Modelz", where the beats are all very good. Otherwise, this one is a classic Cole release. Cole shows flashes of potential to drop a classic album one day, but gets bogged down in nods to legends, terrible hooks, his singing, mediocre beats, corny lyrics, and a general lullaby-type feeling. While I liked Cole World and Born Sinner when they first dropped, I eventually came to not really like either of them for the same reasons I did not enjoy this release. I was really hoping this one would be the Cole album that i would like when it drops and then continue to like for the foreseeable future, but that is sadly not the case. As I write this, the disappointment I feel is immense, as I just really want to like Cole, but I just cannot. Full Review »