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J. Cole’s “Neighbors” Video: What Does It Mean?

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J. Cole dropped his video for his song, “Neighbors” and while it confused some people, he made a powerful statement.

J. Cole captured the footage of a SWAT team storming into his rented North Carolina house that was being used for a recording studio on home security cameras.

The reason for the raid was because of his neighbors, who in a mainly white suburb, called the cops on him, assuming the rap star was selling drugs.

“There was a huge investigation, like a million-dollar investigation,” said Elite, the man who co-executive produced 4 Your Eyez Only. “They flew helicopters over, sent an entire SWAT team armed with weapons, broke down the door and searched the whole house.”

Thankfully, J. Cole was at SXSW and no one else was in the house during the because it looked intense as there were multiple SWAT officers, all equipped with shotguns drawn.

There were no drugs found in J. Cole’s house during the incursion.

J. Cole’s impeccable storytelling takes you through the experience and makes you feel his nihilism: no matter how much money he makes, he feels society will always view him as “a black in a white man territory.”

 

“I think the neighbors think I’m sellin’ dope/I am, I am, I am/Well motherfucker I am/ so much for integration/Don’t know what I was thinking” – J. Cole

When his album, 4 Your Eyez Only dropped in December 2016, and people heard this song, there was debate over if the really incident happened to J. Cole or not, since much of the album is from the perspective of his late friend.

J. Cole used the very real footage, dated March 18, 2016, for his music “Neighbors” video, which abruptly ends at 1 minute and 19 seconds – clearly not the entire song.

I read the YouTube comments to see what everyone else thought about the video, and I read several comments from people who did not why the video ended before the rest of the song finished.

J. Cole ends “Neighbors” right at the moment police snatch the cameras down, as some speculated, to cover up.

The entire song is about his trust being broken because the police broke into his crib, straight military style, with no evidence, completely invading his privacy.

The hip-hop artists’ was also broken with his community because he felt like people just saw him and his friends as a bunch of “thugs” when they were just making music.

Can we “gentrify” white neighborhoods or will we still be singled out like J. Cole?

COLLEGEHIPHOP Writer
Hip hop journalist