Unfortunately, this synopsis had been delayed as I (Jord) am currently recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon and a torn ligament from playing football, so please forgive me and ENJOY!
Episode four is the start of act three for the album’s tour- working towards J Cole’s highly anticipated return to his childhood hometown-performing at the Crown Coliseum, in Fayetteville. It’s pretty much similar to that of episode two, in regard to the pre-production of his 2014 Forest Hills Drive tour. Each act from one to three were named, with act one being Hometown, act two (the tour of Europe) was called The Journey- and the finale of the tour (act three) was called Homecoming. Cole’s Homecoming tour was supported by Jeremih, YG, Big Sean and his Dreamville team Bas, Cozz and Omen- back in the states where they performed in California, Cole’s adopted home of New York City and rounded off at his hometown Fayetteville where he grew up.
Seeing as act three was the finale to the tour, it had to be something special. With that being said Cole and his Dreamville team contacted set designer Tim Brown to emulate the famous Norwegian play The Master Builder.
The play is based on a man who is famous for building skyscrapers, but is also afraid of heights? Weird? Yeah, I thought so too! Long story short, he climbs up one of the buildings and plunges to his death. The way the play was set out on stage was to make the audience feel as though they’re falling with him, creating a series of mass empathy. From the perspective of Cole, he wanted to master this concept as his own. Instead of a high-rise building he uses the house he grew up in (2014 Forest Hills Drive) to invite the audience to gain a perspective on his life in Fayetteville.
It’s crazy how one man can present different ways of storytelling. Cole has done it throughout his career but at this point he’s shown it through the album itself-starting from a young age, through to making it in Hollywood and eventually coming back ‘home’. He’s performed his album straight through at his shows as well as showing the art of chronology on his tour- from act one (hometown), then act two (The Journey), leading to act three (Homecoming).
Cole’s manager Ib Hamad recently tweeted his desire for the documentaries to inspire young fans to open their minds and take advantage of knowing the opportunities that he never had while growing up. The Road to Homecoming episodes voice the amount of people that are needed for things to come into fruition. There is a plethora of roles in touring alone- from set designing, stage managing, audio engineering to security and merchandising.
Speaking of audio engineering, the funny character of Raymond Rogers breaks the silence of life on tour. He compares the people he works with on tour to not only a family-but a marriage. “It’s like a marriage… you married this person for eight weeks- touring is a marriage”.
Back to the topic! (Pun intended) backstage at one of the tour shows, we’re introduced to producer Cam O’bi who was invited to the tour by Dreamville to make music. Cam has superb credentials, working with critically acclaimed rapper Lil Wayne as well as ChanceTheRapper and Roc Nation star Vic Mensa. Cam created beats with Dreamville producers Ron Gilmore and Elite- with Bas, Cozz and the record label’s latest recruit, Lute recording their verses, along with Cole who wrote and recorded his verse 30 minutes before the show.
The producer reflects on the ‘party’ atmosphere of the Dreamville team, even before the start of a show. “It’s not just a strict working-on-music environment”.
Cole returns to his adopted home of New York City to perform at a sold out Madison Square Garden. The documentary introduces Cole’s former NYC landlord Mohammad who expressed his excitement at Jermaine performing at New York’s famous arena. He remembers listening to his music and being impressed with his work ethic, with him also saying “he was like a family member”.
Irony springs to mind when listening to Serenade by J Cole on The Blow Up mixtape. Reason being, he says “Told my momma I’d be back when I had a million sold” and in case you didn’t know- before his show at London’s O2 Arena in May 2015, he found out 2014 Forest Hills Drive went platinum with no features (million records sold).
Cole’s booking agent Rob Gibbs mentioned that on the last tour in 2013 for Born Sinner- their first show in Seattle barely sold 2,700 tickets. Two years later in Seattle they sold 16,000 tickets for the Forest Hills Drive tour. By the end of the tour, he said it would’ve sold between 565,000- 575,000 tickets for acts one, two and three.
Sadly, I won’t be creating a synopsis for the highly anticipated Homecoming special on HBO. So episode 4 is the last synopsis I’ll be doing for the documentary but have enjoyed this journey! Thank you for taking your time out of your busy schedules to have a read- your support is very appreciated.
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