June 23, 2024

J. Cole Compares “2014 Forest Hills Drive” To Winning A Championship


The debate surrounding J Cole’s legacy often lies within the number of classic albums in his catalog. Some would say none, while others proclaim 2014 Forest Hills Drive as his magnum opus. The rapper didn’t win a Grammy for the album. However, he later earned a trophy for his contributions to 21 Savage’s “a lot.” During his conversation with Bob Myers on Lead By Example, he explained that the experience of recording and releasing the album felt similar to a championship run. “Had I won it early on, I feel like it would have validated all of those feelings I had for it,” J Cole said.

“Maybe it would have felt like a championship at that point, I’m not sure,” he continued. However, 2014 Forest Hills Drive’s loss allowed him to reflect on his career. These days, he doesn’t necessarily hold the accolade to the same standards as he did when he was younger. “After more time with sitting with myself, it becomes clear that, ‘Oh, wait a minute, those things weren’t for you.’ And then when it actually came, it was almost like, ‘I’m not in love with this thing anymore.’ So it couldn’t feel like a championship,” he added.

J Cole’s Grammy Win

Evidently, the Grammys can’t dictate J. Cole’s greatness. During his conversation, he told Myers that winning the award was “nowhere close to a championship for me.” Still, in retrospect, the success and praise that 2014 Forest Hills Drive earned made felt comparable to how the Bulls two-time three-peats. “The making of this album I got called Forest Hills Drive, and the releasing of it and the tour, that was a championship run in the way that how the Bulls look at The Last Dance,” he said.

Ultimately, the album’s success cemented J Cole’s status in hip-hop and the recognition from institutes like the Recording Academy couldn’t take that away from him. “The fact that it didn’t win didn’t change my experience. That was what a championship felt like to me,” he concluded. 2014 Forest Hills Drive dropped with no prior announcement, leaping to the top of the Billboard 200 with 350K units sold in its first week. Check out J Cole’s interview with Bob Myers above and sound off with your thoughts in the comments. 

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