In rap superstar J. Cole’s new music video “Neighbors,” the song is set to footage of a SWAT team with rifles and handguns breaking down doors and streaming into a North Carolina home being used as a recording studio.
The video, reportedly captured by home security cameras during a March 2016 raid, was first aired in Cole’s HBO documentary “4 Your Eyez Only,” which premiered in April. The song appeared on his latest album of the same name and was inspired by the raid, the album’s credits say.
“Inspired by true events that took place at the Sheltuh Dreamville NC on March 18th 2016,” the credits say. Dreamville is not a real place in North Carolina; it is the name of the Fayetteville rapper’s recording and production company.
In the song, Cole begins by singing, “I guess the neighbors think I’m sellin’ dope, sellin’ dope, Okay, the neighbors think I’m sellin’ dope, sellin’ dope.”
The raid footage was recorded on March 18, 2016, according to the video’s time stamp. No one was home during the raid, said record producer and recording artist Anthony Parrino, known by his stage name, Elite.
The footage shows a group of at least 13 people who appear to be armed SWAT team members with rifles and handguns breaking into the home. Their jackets have the word “Sheriff” emblazoned on the front.
The video ends as SWAT team members reach up and pull the surveillance cameras off their mounts outside the home.
Parrino told pop music and culture website Complex that the raid was conducted on a rented home in North Carolina being used as a recording studio for the album.
“It’s also in the suburbs of a pretty wealthy neighborhood in North Carolina. So you have, predominately, African-Americans coming in and out of this house, Ubers coming, and every once in awhile you’ll see a group of us outside on the porch smoking weed,” Parrino said. “So the neighbors started getting real paranoid.”
The location of the raid was not publicly available. An inquiry about the location was made to Cole’s press representatives.
Parrino said the raid took place when Cole and other Dreamville artists were in Austin, Texas, for the SXSW festival, and that no one was in the house when it happened. The police were tipped off to the home by neighbors who “told the police we were growing weed or selling drugs out of this house,” Parrino said.
“They flew helicopters over, sent an entire SWAT team armed with weapons, broke down the door and searched the whole house,” he said. “Thankfully nobody was in the house. Our engineer Juro ‘Mez’ Davis had just stepped out for lunch, and he came back and saw the SWAT team busting down the door.”
The documentary, “4 Your Eyez Only,” and the video for “Neighbors” have been released on YouTube.