One of my favorite advancements in the art of hip-hop is easily the increased emphasis on live shows. What was once just a rapper on stage reciting his lines has evolved into an event more epic, cinematic, visually and audibly-pleasing than ever before. Some credit Kanye West — who turned his live shows into more of an art exhibition than a rap performance — but there has been plenty of attention paid to larger set pieces since the ’80s. Whatever the case may be, rappers have been stepping up their performances for some time now, and in the final episode of J. Cole’s stellar Road to Homecoming documentary series, we get a glimpse at just how much effort goes into that part of a rapper’s artistic expression.
“Buses, Vans and Trains” opens with Cole’s set designer explaining what inspired the stage design for the third act of the Forest Hills Drive tour. It’s an intriguing look at an otherwise unseen component of the work and detail that’s put into large scale tours. Watch the entire episode above and, if you’ve missed them, catch up on the three previous episodes here.
J. Cole Forest Hills Drive: Homecoming premieres on Saturday, Jan. 9 at 10 p.m. EST on HBO.