Whether it seems like it or not, we’re currently in the middle of a deluge of J. Cole content. Between the Dec. 7 release of his Revenge of the Dreamers II album and the drop of his “Road To Homecoming” documentary series—all pushed in anticipation of his Jan. 9 HBO special, “Homecoming”—Hip-Hop’s getting absolutely pummeled by the Fayetteville, N.C., rapper.
For a certain subsection of Hip-Hop fan—and, depending on whom you consider a rap fan, that’s a big swath—this is great news. For the many vocal online detractors, this amount of Jermaine stuff is tantamount to a circle of Hell. If you find yourself in the latter, hear us out: The second episode of the “Road To Homecoming” series is actually interesting and worth the watch, despite its nearly 40-minute run-time.
In the clip, which was produced by HBO, a camera crew follows Cole from the U.S. to Europe, documenting several of his shows and several of the rapper and his Dreamville crew’s adventures in between. The spots that involve Cole are entertaining but brief. The episode serves primarily to introduce watchers to the people who surround Jermaine on a day-to-day basis, and spotlights everyone from Cole’s in-concert audio engineer to his tour manager and stage manager.
While the greater purpose was to introduce superfans to Cole’s team, the episode actually serves as a solid primer on all of the behind-the-scenes people who are necessary to make a rapper tick. From meeting the man who serves as Cole’s logistical coordinator, to seeing the men who lay down the instrumentals on Cole’s production, viewers can genuinely glimpse another side of the rapper that few ever see. The aforementioned stage manager, Cedric Brown, probably summed up the effect of that this type of exposure provides—especially to those looking to break into music: “I had no type of clue what goes on at a show until I was 26—imagine if I got exposed to this at 15, 16. That can change a n****’s whole outlook, whole trajectory.”
Watch the entire episode above.