J. Cole talks about his itch to release new music, his reasoning on laying low and the Kendrick Lamar Collaboration project.
J. Cole talks about going on yet another brief tour but this time overseas in Europe for 2 weeks in July.
Q: So are you excited about what you are about to make happen here in Chicago, Illinois?
A. Absolutely man, you know…I’m ecstatic!
Q. What can the crowd expect to see in your live show?
A. .A lot of vicious raps. A lot of confidence and stage presence. And you know-some really good hip hop music
Q. So where are you from?
A. Fayettesville, North Carolina.
Q. How did you get started in this whole rap game?
A. Well, I started rapping at 12 years old. Started making beats when I was 15 years old. And when I was 18yrs old I moved to New York trying to get a rap deal-and also went to St. Johns University.
Q. Where’d you get the courage to up and move from such a small town to the Big Apple?
A. Man, I have no clue where I got it from. Probably from my mother who fooled me into thinking I could do whatever I wanted to do. So I actually tried it out.
Q. What did you study at St. Johns?
A. Communications. I knew what I was there for(a rap deal) and I didn’t think I would have to finish school-I thought I was going to get signed before I even graduated.
Q. Who are some of your musical influences?
A. Tupac, Jay-Z, Nas…Eminem, Canibus, Andre 3000-Outkast and Kanye..you know-the greats.
Q. After you got to New York you got signed by Jay-Z’s label, how did that happen?
A. Yeh, Roc-Nation-this happened through Mark Pitts who was Biggie’s manager
(who also signed Chris Brown and Ciara). He played Jay-Z one of my songs called “Lights Please” and that’s how it all started.
Q. How did Mark Pitts find you?
A. Well, that’s a whole ‘nother story. That’s from years and years of me knocking on people’s doors and somehow my music wound up in his office.
Q. Now you know and Chris Brown look alike (you could be cousins)?
A. Ha, ha…that’s my homeboy too. But yeh-I know, it’s that tall light skin thing.
Q. I like the fact that you graduated from St. Johns and got your papers. How do you feel about that?
A. I’m honored. I feel good to have my degree-you know what I’m saying. Nobody can take that away from you. It’s nothing but a good thing.
Q. How do you define the music you are producing-what’s happening?
A. There’s definitely a message. It’s both entertainment and a message. I try to blend both of them together. A strong message of us as individuals along with the entertainment of rap-that’s what I do.
: How does it feel to be performing at Lollapalooza?
J. Cole: Ah man, it’s an honor and a blessing. I’m excited to see what’s about to happen.
SS: Are you excited to see a certain act this weekend?
J. Cole: I can’t really stay that long but if I could I’d love to see Lady Gaga, Erykah Badu, and The Black Keys. There are a lot of acts I’d like to see.
SS: Explain what your new single Who Dat is about.
J. Cole: Man that’s just a rap record–straight hard beats and hard raps! It’s a rap record at its finest. It’s just me flexing lyrical abilities. It’s not your typical first single but I’m not your typical rapper. It made a statement like, “A’ight, I’ll come out with this and see how y’all respond.”
SS: There was some controversy surrounding the Who Dat video. How would you address the critics that said you portrayed Fayetteville in a negative light?
J. Cole: Those people really don’t get it if they’re saying that. It’s really just a kid who wants to come home and show love to the city that he was raised in. It’s nothing more than that–that’s it.
SS: When can we expect to hear the album?
J. Cole: We got a date but I’m not saying the date no more because I feel like it’s going to change. I know how this thing works and I’ve seen it happen too many times. When a lot of people want my album it’s going to come out. If I put my album out now I can do 15,000-20,000 in sales but I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to be under the radar. I want to touch as many people as absolutely possible.
SS: Do you have a title for the album?
J. Cole: I do but I haven’t put it out yet.
SS: Who are some of the producers on the album?
J. Cole: Right now the producers are myself and No I.D. and that’s it. Maybe that’s subject to change but right now it’s just us. There are no features right now but that’s going to change–I’m going to get like one or two. It will not be a feature dominated album at all.
SS: You make beats?
J. Cole: Yeah I make beats.
SS: What equipment do you use?
J. Cole: I started out on the ASR X Pro and I changed over to Reason about five years after that. I started using Logic recently.
SS: Phonte from Little Brother said that it bothered him that people used to tell him, “Oh, you can rap for somebody from the South.” Do you get a lot of that and how do you respond to it?
J. Cole: I do. They say it in different ways. They don’t say it like that but they’ll say another thing and you basically know what they’re trying to say. I don’t respond to it no kind of way man. All I can do is do my part to change to change that stereotype. All it is is a stereotype–it’s not true.
SS: What’s the best advice Jay-Z ever gave you?
J. Cole: I can’t tell you the best but he gives me a lot of advice. And I can tell you its really good advice. Whenever I get asked that question I can never remember one particular thing. He gives me a lot of great advice.
SS: A lot of people feel like you’re the next great MC, I feel that way, do you feel pressure to live up to that?
J. Cole: Thank you. Nah man, I feel anxious to live up to that. I’m ready to live up to that. It’s just a matter of finishing up this album. I’m just ready for it to be heard. I want to finish it. It’s hard when you’re trying to promote singles and finish the album at the same time. I don’t feel the pressure, I feel the excitement like, “Yo, I’m trying to come out and show it!”
SS: What’s your ultimate goal in the music industry?
J. Cole: Man, just to be around for 15 or 20 years and still be great, give people music they want to hear, and have my spot on everybody’s list. Everybody got their greatest list or top 5 list–I want to be on everybody’s list.
In the video above J. Cole does an interview with UrbanGrind TV while at Chicago State University. He came out to the university to show some love, and he talks about perseverance and working hard and achieving your goals in this interview.
J. Cole speaks on his melting pot of fans, life in 3 years, not letting the business stress him out and more, check it out and leave a comment below.
In the interview above, J. Cole fields some interesting questions from Honey magazine, including what’s the difference between Young Simba and Grown Simba? What’s the song Lights Please about? Do you have a girlfriend?
In the video above J. Cole talks a bit about how he went to college, and he’s not afraid to tell people about it. For those of you who didn’t know, J. Cole had a scholarship to and graduated with honors from St. John’s University in the class of 2007.
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