The fans of J. Cole know why videos like the below-titled “J. Cole – Forest Hills Drive: Homecoming (Full Concert)” are gaining views on YouTube, and why Cole’s “Homecoming” HBO concert was a trending topic on Twitter on Saturday, the day it premiered. Warning: The below full concert video contains language that might be offensive to some viewers.
The HBO special, titled J. Cole Forest Hills Drive: Homecoming, premiered January 9 at 10 p.m., according to HBO, and began with Cole — whose full name is Jermaine Lamarr Cole — paying homage to his hometown, Fayetteville, North Carolina, people. Cole called Fayetteville the “two-six” and “Fayette-nam,” as reported by Vibe, with Cole paying homage to the military town.
Throughout the concert film, the 30-year-old Cole, who was born in Frankfurt, Germany, in a military hospital, shows love for his place of origin. But “apparently,” as one of Cole’s most popular songs is named, J. grew up in Fayetteville, and didn’t realize it was a “small town mentality” that he needed to break away from, not necessarily the town. He spoke about growing up in a place that was often considered a place folks want to escape from.
Cole also spoke honestly about not feeling like he has done enough for his hometown, and lacked the time and desire to do more — that is, until J. came back and put on the concert of a lifetime. With surprise guests like Jay-Z and Drake joining Cole on stage, the crowd went wild. It was quite the “come up” for Cole, who once stood in the rain for hours to hand Jay-Z a CD and got turned away.
— VibeMagazine (@VibeMagazine) January 10, 2016
HBO gives a description of the J. Cole concert, and details how the 6′3″ Cole grew to fame.
“One of music’s biggest stars returns home to Fayetteville, North Carolina. Part concert film, part backstage pass, the special tells J. Cole’s compelling life story through his own words and music, and through the observations of those who know him best.
“Featuring guest appearances by Jay Z and Drake, J. Cole Forest Hills Drive: Homecoming showcases live versions of all 13 songs from his third album, 2014 Forest Hills Drive. Cole delivers a powerful performance that leaves his fans elated or in tears, connecting with audiences in a way few others can. Songs from ‘2014 Forest Hills Drive’ include ‘January 28th,’ ‘Wet Dreamz,’ ’03’ Adolescence,’ ‘A Tale of 2 Citiez,’ ‘Fire Squad,’ ‘St. Tropez,’ ‘Love Yourz,’ ‘G.O.M.D.,’ ‘No Role Modelz,’ ‘Hello’ and ‘Apparently.’
“Released on Jay Z’s Roc Nation label in Dec. 2014, ‘2014 Forest Hills Drive’ sold 350,000 copies in its first week, and went on to become the first rap record in 25 years to go platinum without featured guests. Reviewing the album, the New York Times said, ‘Mr. Cole is undeniably in the top tier of current hip-hop stars,’ while Vibe remarked, ‘This is his Blueprint, the best rap album to drop this year.’ “
It’s a thought-provoking concert video, wherein J. displays his typical honesty throughout the lyrics of songs like “Wet Dreamz,” which details his first sexual experience, and fears of premature ejaculation and the like. It’s not often that machismo-filled rappers put themselves on display with a vulnerability that has won Cole legions of fans.
J. Cole Forest Hills Drive: Homecoming featured people throughout Cole’s hometown, speaking about how they view Fayetteville as either a lovely place to go fishing and live a quieter life — or a dangerous place where friends get killed at house parties.
Cole’s album 2014 Forest Hills Drive is RIAA-certified platinum, reports Forbes.
The North Carolina native also featured his mom prominently in the concert film, with Cole’s mom discussing how she always knew J. was special. For his part, Cole has confessed to not knowing what it’s like to be white, since his mom is Caucasian and Cole’s dad was African American. Since he looks black, Cole says he identifies with being black.
— Complex UK (@complex_uk) January 10, 2016
[Photo by Robb D. Cohen/Invision/AP]