Add J. Cole’s latest move to the reasons why his fans support him so heavily. The Roc rapper’s using his childhood home – the one heavily featured in the promotion of his 2014 Forest Hills Drive album and also on the LP’s cover – in an unusual way to give back to his Fayetteville, N.C. hometown – he’s working to set up a situation where single mothers can live there rent free. Speaking on the latest episode of The Combat Jack Show, Cole explained his idea:
“What we gon’ do, we still working it out right now, obviously it’s a detailed, fragile situation I don’t wanna play with. My goal is to have that be a haven for families. So every two years a new family will come in, they live rent-free. The idea is that it’s a single mother with multiple kids and she’s coming from a place where all her kids is sharing a room. She might have two, three kids, they’re sharing a room. She gets to come here rent free. I want her kids to feel how I felt when we got to the house.”
It doesn’t get any realer than that folks.
Cole picked up the property not only as part of the promotion for the album, but also because buying it symbolized something greater to him. A mixture of happiness spent living there and sadness upon hearing that his mom lost possession of it in later years. He described in detail how his family ended up at the now well-known address.
“In the South, especially in North Carolina, it’s like this,” he said of his family moving to a trailer park when he was 4. “I can’t speak for Atlanta, I’m not from there. But North Carolina is like this. That was my first glimpse of the hood. This is not Eminem, 8 Mile. Shit was fucked up. No disrespect to people that’s still in the trailers and shit but that’s what it is. It’s very affordable housing. Very affordable. The neighborhood we lived in was fucked up. I was a kid. The reason why it had such a big effect on me is that I was coming from somewhere else. I was coming from a military base. My father was in the army and my mother was too, she got out when she had me. Before I was 1 we moved back [from Germany] to Fayetteville, Fort Bragg.
“My parents separated before I was even conscious. After we moved back they were separated. When they got divorced we had to move out of the military quarters ’cause you can only live there if you’re married. That’s like real nice housing, it ain’t no mansion but it’s safe. Everybody got jobs, everybody got benefits ’cause they’re all in the Army. When I’m four years old we have to move; it’s me, my brother, and my mother and we moved to Spring Lake, a little outskirt area of Fayetteville. We moved to the trailer park in Spring Lake. It was my first taste of like, ‘Oh, shit. This is nothing like where we came from.’ I knew the energy was not right. I knew my mother was the only white lady in the neighborhood and there was no man in the house.”
During his talk with Jack and company, he also speaks on his “Firing Squad” track as well as Kendrick’s “Control” and even his early aspirations of wanting to sign K.Dot when they first met. The discussion also covers his trip to Ferguson, staying of Drake’s lane and being the voice of a new generation.
Listen to The Combat Jack Show interview below.
Spotted: The Urban Daily