The arena leg of J. Cole’s 4 Your Eyez Only Tour kicked off with some incredible visuals. The rapper stepped out a Phoenix venue rocking an orange prison jumpsuit while a group of actors dressed as police officers escorted him on stage. It was an obvious, but powerful, statement on mass incarceration—an issue Cole repeatedly addresses throughout the platinum-certified album.
On Tuesday, Cole took time out of busy tour schedule to visit one of the world’s most famous prisons where he, along with Dreamville president Ibrahim “Ib” Hamad, spoke with the men who face life in prison.
“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.”
Cole and Hamad were joined by Dreamville’s head of art direction, Felton Brown, who also shared his experience on social media.
“One of the most moving moments since this new journey,” Brown wrote. “Spent a day with some brothers who stories go unheard behind the wall. Learned a lot, so much work to be done. This system will try to not give you a voice but we’re listening.”
Cole addresses incarceration and injustices in the legal system on cuts like “Immortal,” “Neighbors,” and the 4 Your Eyez Only title track, which includes these lines: “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.”