Birthday albums are all the rage this year. Ascendant rapper/singer/producer Allan Kingdom dropped Northern Lights to celebrate his 22nd; David Bowie released Blackstar on his 69th, two days before his death. And now J. Cole's got Forest Hills Drive: Live From Fayetteville, NC, landing right in tandem with his 31st birthday.
The record, performed in his hometown, replicates the entire 2014 Forest Hills Drive album, Cole's third studio full-length. It skips the chatty, 14-minute album closer "Note to Self"—mostly a sonic thank-you notes section—but adds an interlude with pieces of the mixtape/Cole World: The Sideline Story cuts " Lights Please," "In The Morning," and the Missy Elliott–featuring "Nobody's Perfect."
Stream Forest Hills Drive: Live From Fayetteville, NC here:
"Hip hop deserves a live album," Cole wrote on Twitter, saying it's "history turned into an album." The audio comes from the 90-minute HBO concert documentary special Forest Hills Drive: Homecoming, which aired on Jan. 9. Cole brought out label boss Jay Z and BFF Drake for four non-Drive encore songs, which unfortunately don't show up on this new release.
Check out an archival interview where Cole tells Fuse how he hustled hard in his mixtape days: