Suggest a Songfact / Artistfact
Album: 4 Your Eyez OnlyReleased: 2016Charted:
Frustrated with the racial stereotype that an African American can't be rich unless they're selling drugs, Cole vents his anger on this cut about his relationship with the white community.
The song draws inspiration from an real-life event that took place on March 18, 2016, when Cole rented out a house in North Carolina. It was located in a wealthy neighborhood in North Carolina as a creative workspace for the Dreamville artists and producers. Much of the 4 Your Eyez Only album was recorded there. Dreamville in house producer, Elite, explained to Complex:
"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. So the neighbors started getting real paranoid.
Apparently what happened was, we were all in Austin, Texas, for SXSW; thankfully no one was in the house when this went down. One of the neighbors told the police we were growing weed or selling drugs out of this house. And there was a huge investigation, like a million-dollar investigation. They flew helicopters over, sent an entire SWAT team armed with weapons, broke down the door and searched the whole house. 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.
They go downstairs and all they see is a studio, and obviously they felt stupid. It's just crazy ironic because out of anybody, they picked the wrong person. J. Cole is the last person to do anything like that. He's out here doing extremely positive things for the community and for young artists. Because of obvious racism from the neighbors, the police were called and a raid took place."
This is the only 4 Your Eyez Only track where Cole is the sole producer.
Cole is also credited with playing bass and guitar on the album. Between 3:06 to 3:19 on this track, we hear him laying down a funky riff.
The song's instrumental is the same one that is used for the Born Sinner
track "Forbidden Fruit
" but in reverse. During his tour stop in Anaheim, California on July 9, 2017 Cole demonstrated this when he transitioned the end of "Forbidden Fruit" into the intro of "Neighbors." As the first song trailed off, Cole reversed the track's beat into "Neighbors" to show that they are one and the same.