J. Cole’s “Neighbors” Was Inspired By His Studio Getting Raided By Police

blame it on Patrick Glynn December 13, 2016

Whether you like the album or not, when a project as big and discussed as J. Cole’s 4 Your Eyez Only is, there’s a lot of press surrounding the project detailing what went into making it.

The photographer behind the album’s cover and preceeding documentary talked about how he got in touch with Cole, and Vinylz and Boi-1da already spoke up about why “Deja Vu” and Bryson Tiller’s “Exchange” sound the same.

This weekend, Elite, a co-executive producer on 4 Your Eyez Only, talked to Complex about the recording process and inspiration behind the album and why there are no features on the album.

The song “Neighbors” has, as Complex pointed out in the interview, a line that says “inspired by true events” in the liner notes. It turns out, while Cole and many of the people were working on the album while at South by Southwest, police and the SWAT team raided his studio in North Carolina.

Elite explained the story:

“Basically Cole rented out a house in North Carolina. … We call it the Sheltuh, and a lot of the album was recorded there. It’s basically a studio in a basement, in the woods.

It’s also in the suburbs of a pretty wealthy neighborhood in North Carolina. So you have, predominately, African-Americans coming in and out of this house. Ubers coming, and every once in awhile you’ll see a group of us outside on the porch smoking weed. So the neighbors started getting real paranoid.

Apparently what happened was, we were all in Austin, Texas, for SXSW; thankfully no one was in the house when this went down. 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. Our engineer Juro “Mez” Davis had just stepped out for lunch and he came back and saw the SWAT team busting down the door.

They go downstairs and all they see is a studio, and obviously they felt stupid. … Because of obvious racism from the neighbors, the police were called and a raid took place.”

People just can’t let their neighbors live, can they?

4 Your Eyez Only is expected to sell over 500,000 in its first week, and I’m sure there are plenty more details to come out surrounding the inspiration of various songs on the album. (Like, maybe why he made a song about folding a girl’s clothes.)