J. Cole is undoubtedly a man who moves in silence and grace. The Dreamville artist most recently snuck away from his busy 4 Your Eyez Only tour schedule to visit inmates serving life sentences at the San Quentin State Prison in the Bay Area on Tuesday (Aug. 1). In addition to snapping a few pics together, the group also discussed their experiences and grievances of living behind bars.
Cole visited the prison with Dreamville Records president Ibrahim Hamad and Head of Art Direction Felton Brown. On Instagram, Hamad shared a gallery of images of Cole and the prisoners inside the prison and huddling on the outside grounds. “We got the opportunity to spend the day at San Quentin State Prison talking and meeting inmates who will never see the outside again,” Hamad wrote on Instagram. “That experience was a life changing experience and wish I had the ability to put that in a caption but that wouldn’t be doing it justice.”
Brown also posted several images on the Gram. “One of the most moving moments since this new journey. Spent a day with some brothers whose stories go unheard behind the wall,” he added. “Learned a lot, so much work to be done. This system will try to not give you a voice but we’re listening.”
J. Cole just completed the first of four shows in the greater New York City area last night (Aug. 1) on his current tour. Even during his live performance, the 2014 Forest Hills Drive rapper has been vocal about his opposition to mass incarceration. During his concerts he’s been dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit while being escorted offstage by police officers. His visuals and lyrics for “Neighbors,” “Immortal,” and “4 Your Eyez Only,” which he performs during his sets, also advocate for prison reform. “I dedicate these words to you and all the other children/Affected by the mass incarceration in this nation/That sent your pops to prison when he needed education,” he raps on “4 Your Eyez Only.”
Check out J.Cole and San Quentin State Prison’s inmates here.