This story was originally published on 11/24/14 alongside Complex’s December 2014/January 2015 cover story with J. Cole.
Complex cover star and Dreamville founder J. Cole recently purchased the residency at 2014 Forest Hills Drive, Fayetteville, North Carolina, a place the 29-year-old rapper holds dear to his heart. Not only is this the house he grew up in, but it also inspired his upcoming third studio album, 2014 Forest Hills Drive.
During the cover shoot for Complex’s Dec./Jan. 2015 issue, Cole showed us around the house and shared a bunch of memories he has from growing up there. One of the key factors is that he had his own bedroom, which allowed him to find his creative voice as an MC. “When I got my own room, I could do things like zone out to the music I wanted to hear,” he says. “I could do things like sit in my own thoughts and write my raps. And that’s when I became way more introspective. This is where I started dreaming the dream.”
Watch the full clip above, where J. Cole talks about performing a freestyle in public—and murdering it—at the age of 14. He also explains his plans to lend the house off to families in need. As if it wasn’t already clear J. Cole hasn’t forgot where he came from, that should be proof alone.
J. Cole’s 2014 Forest Hills Drive drops Dec. 9 through Dreamville/Roc Nation/Columbia. The project is available for pre-order on iTunes.