The project, titled J. Cole: 4 Your Eyez Only, premiered Saturday night on HBO, the same network that aired his 2016 concert film, J. Cole Forest Hills Drive: Homecoming.
Though the latest documentary did include music performances, it was anchored by the real-life stories of low-income Americans living in the Midwest and Southern cities. Cole visited places like Ferguson, Missouri, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and his hometown of Fayetteville, North Carolina, exploring the issues plaguing black America, whether it be housing concerns, voting laws, and integration.
“I felt like it would be mad powerful for black people to see black people talking to each other. And you see a rapper who’s considered one of the biggest in the game, just listening,” he told the New York Times about the documentary. “These are people that never get to be heard, by the world or even by each other […] See how human they are, and see black men walk around with their daughters, and get a whole different perspective. If I’m listening, why can’t you listen?”
The film, which Cole co-directed with Scott Lazer, is available to watch on HBO’s streaming services. You can check out some of the social media reactions to the documentary below.
He also premiered new music. According to Cole's producer Elite, he never stops working. Hear his latest below.