J. Cole went on tour in 2014, and thanks to HBO, fans got a firsthand look at where the "Crooked Smile" lyricist was born and bred. J. Cole Forest Hills Drive: Homecoming is a 90-minute special that shows us around Cole's hometown of Fayetteville, North Carolina, filmed during the rapper's stop there while on tour promoting his third studio album, 2014 Forest Hills Drive. Fayetteville family, friends and fans got the pleasure of hearing J. Cole perform his entire album during the concert. 2014 Forest Hills Drive hit platinum and made J. Cole the first rapper to go platinum in 25 years without features.
In between concert performances of some of Cole's biggest hits, the documentary gives us glimpses into the rappers early life, and what made him into the successful artist he is today. In the original trailer, Cole said, "Growing up it felt like there wasn't no opportunity here. I would come back home and there's that feeling that there's no place like home."
In addition to seeing the artist's humble beginnings, the short trailer also gives us a peak at some hip-hop heavy hitters who are featured in the film: Drake and Jay Z.
His dream for his hometown? "My dream for Fayetteville is that people here can wake up and realize that anything you want is possible if you want it," he said in the trailer. "I tell myself like, yo, appreciate the moment, even if it's just this five seconds onstage."
Leading up to the film, HBO released a short web series, called Road to Homecoming, which shows the rapper in his element during his biggest year yet. According to Culture magazine, the four-part series helped "provide intimate access to Cole that was previously unavailable, and they deliver a nuanced look into this talented musician for fans and newcomers alike."
The documentary and the mini web series were both shot by Scott Lazer, who also directed J. Cole's music videos for "Apparently" and the "Intro" for the rapper's latest album. "I was just glad to be able to catch that period on film, because it was a transformational year for Cole," Lazer said. "Like he went from doing the Theater at Madison Square Garden on his last tour to selling out the actual Garden in a matter of minutes. So there was clearly a different level for him on this project."
Watch the fourth episode of the mini web series below, then catch the full documentary on HBO.