On Tuesday, August 11th the Forest Hills Drive Tour hit Riverbend Music Center in Cincinnati, OH. The tour featured YG, Jeremih, Big Sean, and headliner J. Cole. The energy they brought to Riverbend was crazy!! During each of the opening acts the crowd’s intensity grew. With an arena packed full of ‘Day One’ J. Cole fans everyone was waiting on that last set!
As the lights came up they illuminated a stage straight off Forest Hills Drive, North Carolina. Forest Hills Drive is also the name of J. Cole’s third studio album. The significance of this street is that it’s the first place J. Cole ever lived where he had his own room. He’s been quoted as saying….
“When I got my own room, I could do things like zone out to the music I wanted to hear. I could do things like rap in front of the mirror and nobody’s looking and I don’t feel crazy. I could do things like sit in my own thoughts and write my raps. That’s when I became more introspective. This is where I started dreaming the dream.”
As the crowd erupted at the sight of J. Cole it was apparent that he is now living his dreams. With the melodies of “Do you wanna, do you wanna be happy…” J. Cole went straight from the streets of Forest Hills to the lyrics. In such an unconventional way he performed his entire Forest Hills Drive Album….
“I been touring for five or six years, and I can tell you, n***as don’t come and do this sh*t. They don’t perform their whole albums and I know why. Two reasons. The first reason being they albums f***ing suck. The second reason, as an artist, it’s the scariest thing in the world to put your heart and soul into a song. You bleeded on this song and then you come do that song at the shows, but because it’s not the radio record or the f***ing club song, you come perform it and the crowd is lookin’ at you like… “This n***a!” Whens he gone do the one with Rich Homie Quan? That’s the one I came to see.” But I had to say, ‘F*ck it’ and get over that fear because this album means a lot to me. It is very f***ing important that I did it like this.”
Throughout the night J. Cole went beyond just sharing his music with you. He created a genuine connection with fans as he dropped some real knowledge and shared life lessons when translating the meaning behind his songs. Once again extending his artistry beyond the fame and money as he discusses ambition, success, and the “American Dream”.
Before transitioning into his hit St. Tropez he admitted that if you gave him a map right now and asked him to point out St. Tropez he’d have no clue where it was. But, that’s irrelevant because the song isn’t about St. Tropez instead it represents taking that leap of faith and pursuing your dreams….
“The name of the song is “St. Tropez” but, if I’m being honest with y’all, then the truth is I don’t actually even know where the f*ck St. Tropez is at on a map. If you paid me a million dollars right now, I couldn’t point to it on a map. I don’t give a f*ck, honestly. I don’t care. What I do know is St. Tropez seems like the type of place that really rich people go to when they have a lot of bread, they wanna get photographed on yachts in bikinis, holding champagne glasses and sh*t so therefore, it seems like the type of place I want to go to one day, but when I talk about St. Tropez on this song, it’s just a metaphor. This song is about when you come from a small city like me a lot of times you suffer from a small town mentality. Now what does that mean? That means when you growing up your whole life, you watching TV and you watching the movies and you see these places like St. Tropez, places like Paris, France; like London, England; like f**kin’ New York city, like Los Angeles, CA. You see places, and you tell yourself when you grow up, ‘Yo, when I get older, Imma go there. Imma see that place. When I get older that’s my dream to go there’ But what ends up happening? Because you have that small town mentality, as you get older, you become comfortable in your safe zone and you become too afraid to leave where you from. That’s why so many people I grew up with, they never left the city to this day… They don’t know what life is like outside of the neighborhood… So when I talk about St. Tropez on this song y’all, it’s just a metaphor for the type of mentality that I had to overcome coming from where I’m coming from. And if you know anything about my story then you know when I turned 18 years old I said ‘f*ck it’. I moved all the way to New York City to make this sh*t happen. I didn’t know anybody in f***ing New York but I took a leap of a faith and when I got there I knew what I got there for. I came up about this music sh*t… I never gave up…. This song is actually about how I had to overcome that small town mentality and say f*ck it.”
J. Cole’s pursuit took him from dreaming of success to living it. The Forest Hills Drive Tour kept the entire audience hype and displayed all the reasons why fans love J. Cole. From the hilarious stories, to the captivating energy, and dynamic truths, J. Cole’s unconventional execution keeps audiences saying “Take me back to Forest Hills…”