IT'S BEEN A LITTLE OVER A WEEK. In the days since Michael Brown’s death at the hands of a local police officer on August 9, a suburb of St. Louis has undergone a dramatic reconfiguration. For one thing, Ferguson, Missouri has been crackling with confrontation nearly nonstop, in a series of actions that alternate wildly between nonviolent protest and violent skirmishes between local authorities and civilians. 

For another, it's no longer just a suburb of St. Louis.

The death of Michael Brown and the subsequent fallout of trust between citizens, press, and law enforcement has drawn attention to Ferguson from people all over the world. One of those individuals is J.Cole, who recorded a tribute to Michael Brown not long after learning of his death. Cole took things a step further by making his way down to the Ferguson, bringing his Dreamville crew along for the trip. As soon as he entered the area along W. Florissant, Cole was surrounded by hundreds of people, who were elated to see that someone of note made time for them. This, of course, is at a time when the president is only now just announcing that the attorney general will be visiting Ferguson. It was before the governor could make it down, too.

During his visit, J. Cole spent hours walking among throngs of protestors, listening and sharing his thoughts. He made it very clear to us that he wasn’t there to do press, and refused to be interviewed before sparing a few minutes to speak candidly with Complex News about his thoughts on what’s taken place in Ferguson, as well as similar issues he’s long been aware of.

Check out the interview above, and keep it locked to Complex News for all the latest from the front lines of Ferguson.