After premiering his 4 Your Eyez Only documentary on HBO earlier this month, J. Cole has released the film for fans on YouTube.
The 48-minute documentary features Jermaine’s travels through Baton Rouge, Atlanta, and his hometown of Fayetteville. Meanwhile, he listens to local citizens tell their stories.
“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 last month. “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?”
Interspersed between interviews, Cole unveils music video vignettes for songs off 2016’s 4 Your Eyez Only, including “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” “Ville Mentality,” “Immortal,” “Change,” and “Neighbors.” The latter features surveillance footage of a SWAT team raid on his North Carolina studio, nicknamed The Sheltuh.
“[The Sheltuh’s] basically a studio in a basement, in the woods,” Cole’s frequent producer Elite told Complex. “It’s also in the suburbs of a pretty wealthy neighborhood in North Carolina. … One of the neighbors told the police we were growing weed or selling drugs out of this house and there was a huge investigation, like a million-dollar investigation. They flew helicopters over, sent an entire SWAT team armed with weapons, broke down the door and searched the whole house. Thankfully nobody was in the house.”
Released in December 2016, 4 Your Eyez Only opened at No. 1 with 492,000 equivalent album units. It has since been certified platinum.