See the real-life event that gave way to Cole’s story-telling “4 Your Eyez Only” track.
Last year, it was confirmed that J. Cole’s “Neighbors,” a song which told the story of a SWAT raid on the rapper’s North Carolina home studio, was very much inspired by real events. In an
interview with Complex, Dreamville producer Elite stated that Cole’s neighbors assumed the house in which Cole was recording his 4 Your Eyez Only project was a hub in which drugs were either being grown or distributed. They then alerted the police, who organized a raid of the building. “They flew helicopters over, sent an entire SWAT team armed with weapons, broke down the door and searched the whole house,” he said. “They go downstairs and all they see is a studio, and obviously they felt stupid.”
Cole addressed the racist views in the wealthy neighborhood that gave way to the raid on “Neighbors,” rapping, “Black in a white man territory / Cops bust in with the army guns / No evidence of the harm we done / Just a couple neighbors that assume we slang / Only time they see us we be on the news, in chains.”
According to Elite, the raid took place during the SXSW festival, a time when the house was thankfully empty.
In J. Cole’s new 4 Your Eyez Only documentary for HBO, footage from the security cameras around the home shows the raid from the outside. Considering that there was absolutely no reason for it to take place, the images of SWAT pouring into the building and kicking down doors is pretty shocking. As Complex points out, the date of the footage reads March 18, which would indeed line up with the SXSW festival in 2016.