Fayetteville rap star gives back to childhood neighborhood
Posted November 20, 2014
Fayetteville’s 2014 Forest Hills Drive is about to become an internationally known address.
It is not only where rap star Jermaine Lamarr Cole, better known as J. Cole, grew up, but it is also the title of his upcoming disc, scheduled for release Dec. 9.
J.Cole will also host a block party at the residence during Thanksgiving weekend.
The artist is known for staying true to his roots, often mentioning Fayetteville in his music and also referring to Queens, N.Y., where he studied communications and business administration at St. John’s University. The cover of his latest release shows J.Cole sitting on the roof of his childhood home.
But before his No. 1 releases in 2011 and 2013, along with a Grammy nomination in 2012, J. Cole was a floor guard at the Round-A-Bout Skate Center in Fayetteville, where he remembered one WRAL reporter.
“There was a big local DJ, Gilbert Baez, he was older and he was on the news and all that,” Cole said. “He used to come on Sunday nights. But other than that it was just...that was the spot to go to when we was younger."
On Forest Hills Drive, neighbors are excited about the upcoming block party.
“I think it's great. Fayetteville needs some good publicity,” said Clayton Burris. “I think it’s awesome. We welcome it."
Nathaniel Scales has lived on the street for 14 years, and while he isn’t familiar with J. Cole’s music, he’s OK with the block party for personal reasons.
"Because I write music myself, so I've given one of my CDs to one of his associates and hopefully he'll play it and listen to it and then I could be discovered," he said.