Why J. Cole And Logic Have Found The Perfect Formula To A Featureless Album: Story Tellers

Empty Lighthouse is a reader-supported site. This article may contain affiliate links to Amazon and other sites. We earn a commission on purchases made through these links.

This year two rappers, J. Cole and Logic, have managed to find a way to have two of the best hip-hop albums of 2014 without enlisting one single feature.

At one point in time collaborations were highly sought after and still are to this day. Everyone is still waiting for the J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar mixtape that was announced a year or two ago but after Cole's latest project "2014 Forest Hills Drive," it would be okay if we never got that body of work. As crazy as that sounds there is no ignoring the fact that he has managed to produce the best album of the year by making it personal, bringing back the substance to storytelling rap, sparking controversy with his lyrics and staying true to himself.

Cole's album happens to be the address of his childhood home and just when we thought we heard all of his life experiences growing up, he manages to take us deeper into some of the darker and lighter moments of his childhood.

His lyrics are some of the realest in the game today and as he raps in "January 28th," "I ain't serve no pies, I ain't slang no dope/I don't bring no lies, n****s sang my quotes/I don't play no games, boy I ain't no joke." He doesn't utilize the lifestyle of a stereotypical rapper, instead he uses what is true to him.

From wanting to follow the wrong influences growing up and learning that it was the wrong choice at a young age by his peers, to going through his first sexual experiences than many others maybe able to relate to in "Wet Dreamz," Cole brings fans into his world, #ColeWorld.

If you haven't been able to listen to "Fire Squad" yet, prepare to hear a ton of controversial lyrics including some that address race and some of the current events that have began

In Logic's "Under Pressure," album he uses the same formula to make his debut album high on the list of debut's in hip-hop. The Visionary Music Group rapper may not be the most main stream rapper or hold the label of one of the best in the game, however, the effort that he puts into his music deserves some form of notoriety.

It isn't that he seeks the notoriety but he seems to have understood the fact that before you can make it into the conversation of one of the best you need to establish yourself.

His album was featured in a detailed review where the subject matters he talked about were discussed. Growing up in one of the most dangerous cities Gaithersburg, Maryland, he has seen and experienced things that others only hear about.

His brother selling drugs, his father buying the drugs and the abuse that his sister suffered are all truly personal stories that he felt fans needed to be introduced to and the way he managed to relay those stories are nothing short than artistic.

"Soul Food," "Gang Related," "Growing Pains III" and "Nikki" are the four tracks that exemplify this notion the best.

Not many rappers are able to tell a story and make a listener feel as if they are immersed in the lifestyle. When fans listen to both these albums each song has it's own individual mood. The overwhelming mood travels from that song and hits you to your core.

Images pop into your head and you can finally exclaim, yes I feel the pain, the struggle and the triumph in these lyrics.

Thankfully "2014 Forest Hills Drive" and "Under Pressure" are two exquisite examples of individual story telling at its best. This isn't an argument for the albums of the year but a nod of admiration to two artists who really deserve it.