Rapper J. Cole named his latest album 2014 Forest Hills Drive after his childhood home where he grew up with a single mother. As part of promoting the album, the rapper revealed that he had bought back the house after his mother lost it some years ago. He also invited fans from his social media to come and spend time with him there.
Now, J Cole says he plans to use the house as a haven for single mothers with many children where the children can bond and the mother will not have to worry about rent for a couple of years or so.
He said this in an interview with the Combat Jack show. When asked if he now lived at the address again, J Cole responded;
“Nah, I don’t really live there. 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.”
J Cole also gave a detailed run down of growing up with a single mother after his parent's divorce and his experience of moving from military housing to a trailer park, before finally they were able to move into the single family home that now graces his latest album cover. J Cole said he was very excited to have a home and wants to give other kids that same opportunity.
“In the South, especially in North Carolina, it’s like this. 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.”
Leaving the past behind, J Cole joked about the unwanted attention the 2014 Forest Hills Drive property has gotten since the album release.
“By the way, tell people to stop going to my house and sitting on my roof taking pictures. And they stealing the fucking street sign.”
Below is the video to Apparently, a song in the 2014 Forest Hills Drive album and which is dedicated to his mother.