Scott Lazer is one of the best new directors in the game. From beginning to end, in Forest Hills Drive: Homecoming he captured Cole's journey to this Fayetteville concert and the effect it had on that community. You leave the documentary with an inside look into Cole the teen, Cole the man, and Cole the artist.
Lazer masterfully weaved Cole's personal story and the 2014 Forest Hills Drive homecoming concert together throughout the film, taking you from the stage to the hood and back again (and again). At Crown Coliseum, you see the smiles and tears of joy on the faces of the Fayetteville faithful. At each and every juncture, you're reminded how much it meant to have the son of the Ville not only come back home but stay true to where he's from... and bring a few dope hip-hop friends (Drake and Jay Z) along the way.
Fayetteville over the years has been the tale of two cities with one part of town vibrant and bustling, and another experiencing so much poverty, drugs, crime, violence, lack of opportunity and economic hardship. But for one night, all of that did not matter.
Here are five takeways from our viewing experience.
1. Fayetteville Natives
Hearing the story about the tale of two cities from the people who live in Fayetteville gives you incredible insight into what makes Cole the artist he is, his topic matters and his love for home.
2. "The Opportunity Is In Your Mentality"
Cole discusses how looking back, he believes that he could've become successful staying in Fayetteville if he just changed his mindset. He goes on to discuss how Fayetteville is not the prison like many believe but the prison instead is actually in your mind and once you remove those mental bars, anything is possible. Residents then take to the screen to discuss how Cole's success has given them a sense of possibility, hope and inspiration that their dreams are possible.
3. Cole's Childhood Friend, Craig, Who Went To Jail For 19 Years
Cole sees one of his childhood friends, Craig, for the first time after he was locked up for 19 years on drugs charges. Craig is standing in a gym with Cole talking about how he now has a 10-year-old daughter he is proud of. In the voiceover, Cole waxes bout Craig missing his daughter's early childhood years due after taking a bad plea deal. You are really hit by unforgiving world we live in.
4. Kay Cole Discussing The Success Of Her Son And Attending His Homecoming Concert
No words truly can describe a mother's joy and happiness. There is a part of the documentary where Cole is directly rapping to his mom from the stage and her reaction pulls on your heartstrings. You just gotta watch it.
5. Hip-Hop Gawds
Cole, Drake, Hov ... one show, one stage, all hits. Kevin Hart voice ... Doesn't get any better than that.
Watch for yourself.