J. Cole and his Dreamville record label team took an inspiring tour of California’s only death-row penitentiary for male inmates, continuing the conscious rapper’s dedication to prison reform.
Cole met with the men at San Quentin State Prison Tuesday, Aug. 1, ahead of his Brooklyn, N.Y., stop in the 4 Your Eyez Only tour.
“That experience was a life-changing experience and [I] wish I had the ability to put that in a caption, but that wouldn’t be doing it justice,” wrote Cole’s manager, Ibrahim Hamad, of the visit with “inmates who will never see the outside again.”
Despite the mention of life-long prison sentences, Cole’s general civilian tour consisted of visiting only Level 1 and 2 inmates, TMZ reported. Those levels consist of open dorms, but Level 1 has a low-security perimeter while Level 2 has a secure perimeter and may have armed coverage, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Cole reportedly admired the media center where the men record their “Ear Hustle” podcast and spoke to inmates about his friends who are imprisoned, according to TMZ. The trip follows Cole’s meeting with former President Barack Obama last year for the My Brother’s Keeper initiative, where they discussed prison reform alongside Chance the Rapper, Nicki Minaj and Pusha T.
“Spent a day with some brothers whose stories go unheard behind the wall,” wrote Dreamville art director Felton Brown of the visit. “Learned a lot, so much work to be done. This system will try to not give you a voice but we’re listening.”