J. Cole has been to the Grammys and performed at Madison Square Garden, but he returned to where it all began on Thursday. The 27-year-old rapper was back home in Fayetteville, North Carolina, for the inaugural Dreamville Weekend, named after the label he started in his college bedroom.
The Grammy-nominated Cole was honored by Cumberland County Commissioner Charles Evans, who proclaimed March 1, 2012, as “J. Cole Day.” He spoke with students at E.E. Smith High School and his almar matter Terry Sanford, where he once played basketball.
“The world is much bigger than Fort Bragg Road; I want you all to go grab your dreams,” Cole encouraged his young fans who packed the gym to get a glimpse of the hometown star. “I don’t get to come back as often as I used to, so when I do I really got to take advantage of it.”
As part of Dreamville Weekend, the hip-hop role model wants to give back to his community. “We feel like we didn’t have a lot of opportunities or a lot of people to look up to,” he told the Fayetteville Observer. “I feel like it’s important to show them that there’s a bigger world out there.”
The “Work Out” MC answered questions and shared the rewards of his hard work. “I paid all of my bills,” said Cole, who released the song “Visionz of Home”in honor of the occasion. “I’m not rich enough yet, but I want to take care of my mom; I don’t want her to work anymore.”