J. Cole knows what it's like to live in a place that doesn't feel like home. When he was four years old, his family moved to a trailer park in a dangerous part of town on the outskirts of Fayetteville, North Carolina.
"The energy was not right and I knew there was no man in the house," he said in an interview on "The Combat Jack Show." "I thought I had to be the person to protect the house."
When Cole was in fourth grade, his mother and stepfather's combined income made it possible for them to finally live in a place you might have heard of (it's the name of Cole's newest album): 2014 Forest Hills Drive.
"We moved in to Forest Hills Drive and that place was a mansion to me," Cole said. "Green grass, nice driveway, my own room."
Nearly a decade later, Cole's stepfather put himself on assignment with the military, which Cole later learned was a strategy to painlessly break things off with his mother. The agreement was that he would continue to make mortgage payments in his absence — but that didn't last very long.
"Eventually my mom called me at college to tell me that the mortgage hadn't been paid in four months," Cole said. The house went into foreclosure, so Cole's mother packed up and moved to an apartment.
Don't worry. This story has a happy ending.
Thanks to a successful music career, Cole has now managed to buy back his childhood home and turn it into something even more beautiful than his memories of living in it. Since he won't be living in the house himself, he's planning to open it up to families in need.
"Our goal is to have that be a haven for a family," he told the show. "So every two years a new family will come in and they'll live rent free."
The idea is to help a single mother with multiple kids, who might be coming from a place like the trailer park where he used to live.
"She gets to come here rent free," he said. "I want her kids to feel how I felt when we got to the house."
Listen to J. Cole's full interview on "The Combat Jack Show" below.