With J. Cole'2014 Forest Hills Drive homecoming concert airing on HBO next month, the North Carolina MC just launched a new mini-doc series leading up to the big show. The series—titled Road to Homecoming—will document Cole's journey through the last year and some important moments in his life and on tour.

In the first episode, Cole spends some time in the studio and on the basketball court in an intense pickup game with his crew. The clip also shows Cole surprising some fans with a private listening session of his 2014 Forest Hills Drive album before it dropped last year. The concert and mini-doc will eventually be released on DVD, but Cole did not reveal when. Read his full message on the series below, and be sure to tune into Cole's HBO special on Jan. 9.