J. Cole Talks ‘2014 Forest Hills Drive’ Not Winning A Grammy Award

J. Cole 2014 Forest Hills Drive

The Dreamville leader reflects on finally winning a Grammy in 2020.

Many J. Cole fans consider 2014 Forest Hills Drive the Roc Nation emcee’s best studio album. That 2014 project debuted at No.1 on the Billboard 200 chart and earned a Best Rap Album nomination at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards.

J. Cole’s critically-acclaimed 2014 Forest Hills Drive did not win Best Rap Album in 2016. To Pimp a Butterfly by Top Dawg Entertainment-backed rapper Kendrick Lamar took home the Grammy that year.

In fact, J. Cole would not win his first Grammy Award until 2020. The Dreamville Records founder received a Best Rap Song golden gramophone for his contribution to 21 Savage’s “A Lot” single.

J. Cole Received 16 Grammy Nominations During His Career

ESPN’s Lead by Example With Bob Myers conducted an interview with J. Cole which included the 38-year-old recording artist discussing the Grammy Awards. He admitted his desire to win a Grammy diminished over time.

“It was so important to me. So had I won it early on, I think it would have validated all those feelings I had for it. Maybe it would have felt like a championship at that point, I’m not sure. The fact that it didn’t happen and then it didn’t happen and then it didn’t happen, it allowed me to even reflect,” said Cole.

The 16-time Grammy nominee added, “After more time to sit with myself, it becomes clear that it’s like, ‘Wait a minute. Those things weren’t for you.’ Then, when it actually came, it was almost like, ‘I’m not in love with this thing anymore.’ Not to mention, I won a Grammy with somebody else. It was me as a feature on somebody’s song. It ain’t for nothing I did.”

2014 Forest Hills Drive Is Cole’s Championship Ring

While J. Cole now appears to be ambivalent about winning a Grammy Award, the St. John’s University graduate does have a positive view of his own work. 2014 Forest Hills Drive came up during his conversation with Golden State Warriors executive Bob Myers.

“That’s nowhere close to a championship to me, the Grammy. But there was an album that felt like a championship,” stated Cole. “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 a way I would look at how the [Chicago] Bulls look at The Last Dance or how [the Golden State Warriors] look at winning a championship.”

The rapper/producer continued, “That was the feeling. Guess what? That album didn’t win a Grammy. A Grammy didn’t increase my enjoyment or decrease my enjoyment. If that album had won a Grammy, it wouldn’t have changed my experience. The fact that it didn’t win didn’t change my experience. That was what a championship felt like to me.”