At the end of 2014, J.Cole dropped his most prolific album to date — 2014 Forest Hill Drive. Titled after his childhood home in North Carolina. Speaking with the Combat Jack show for a lengthy breakdown of his new music, childhood, and rise to success, Cole explained his experience moving from military housing to a trailer park to the single family home that graces his latest album cover. Explaining his excitement as a kid to move into the now-iconic address, Cole said he wants to give other kids that same opportunity.
“My parents separated before I was even conscious. After we moved back they were separated. When they got divorced we had to move out of the military quarters ’cause you can only live there if you’re married. That’s like real nice housing, it ain’t no mansion but it’s safe. Everybody got jobs, everybody got benefits ’cause they’re all in the Army. When I’m four years old we have to move; it’s me, my brother, and my mother and we moved to Spring Lake, a little outskirt area of Fayetteville. We moved to the trailer park in Spring Lake. It was my first taste of like, ‘Oh, shit. This is nothing like where we came from.’ I knew the energy was not right. I knew my mother was the only white lady in the neighborhood and there was no man in the house.”
My goal is to have that be a haven for families. So every two years a new family will come in, they live rent-free. The idea is that it’s a single mother with multiple kids and she’s coming from a place where all her kids is sharing a room. She might have two, three kids, they’re sharing a room. She gets to come here rent free. I want her kids to feel how I felt when we got to the house.”
“Appreciation is everything,” he also said. “Life could be both beautiful or ugly depending on how you look at it. It could be both hard and blessed. Heaven or hell. It’s all within us. The devil is in us. God is in us. All of these things are within us. It’s just how we choose to view it, it’s the decisions we make, how we decided to view it.” It is all Beauty Within.