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7 Things We Learned From The Surprising J. Cole Interview

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J. Cole rarely does interviews. Like, almost never. So color us surprised when the rapper gave GQ unprecedented access to his aura. The result? An intriguing look into the psyche of the notoriously private hip-hop star. Here’s a few things we learned…

1. STILL HATES FAME

When GQ suggested his new found openers was an evolution in his relationship with fame, J. was quick to correct them. It’s not fame he’s seeking, he’s just “trying not to be as stubborn about it all,” he explains. “I’ve reached a point in my life where I’m like, ‘How long am I gonna be doing this for?’ I’m starting to realize like, oh sh!t—let’s say I stopped this year. I would feel like I missed out on certain experiences, you know? Working with certain artists, being more collaborative, making more friends out of peers, making certain memories that I feel like if I don’t, I’m gonna regret it one day.”

2.THIS MAY MEAN ACTUAL FEATURES ON HIS ALBUM

Cole is also known for b being notoriously against having features on his albums. However, things could be changing. “I’ve been so secluded within myself that people think I don’t like anybody, that I won’t work with anybody. It’s a reputation that’s been extending to my artists, too.”
So, he’s considering switching the status quo — maybe. “Well, I don’t have any [features] right now that I really want to boast about,” he tells GQ. “Not saying it’s impossible. It’s just about getting out of my comfort zone.”

3. COLE IS ACTUALLY GRATEFUL HE DIDN’T WIN THE GRAMMY

In 2012 the “Cole World” rapper was nominated for best new artist. He lost, but hindsight is 20/20. “It would’ve been disastrous for me, because subconsciously it would’ve been sending me a signal of like ‘Okay, I am supposed to be this guy.’ But I would’ve been the dude that had that one great album and then fizzled out.” Cole continues, “I’m not supposed to have a Grammy, you know what I mean? At least not right now, and maybe never. And if that happens, then that’s just how it was supposed to be.”

4. COLIN KAEPERNICK IS HIS FACETIME FRIEND

We all knew Cole was down with Kaep, but we didn’t know the bros were BFFs. During his GQ interview Jermaine got a FT call from Colin after the former NFL player had settled with his ex-bosses. Here’s how the encounter went down:

He’s interrupted by a phone call, Colin Kaepernick on FaceTime. He greets Kaepernick with big, warm congratulations. News had just broken a few hours ago that Kaepernick had agreed to settle his lawsuit against the NFL—for a payday some sources estimate could be as high as $100 million.
“You’re buying me dinner when I’m in New York,” Cole says with a laugh. After about ten minutes of him mm-hmm-ing while the two presumably discuss the headlines, Cole hangs up. They’ve been cut short by a bad connection. The room around him starts debating Kaepernick’s choice to settle rather than go to court. Was he selling out, or was he being smart? Did the NFL get off easy? “Listen, justice was served,” Cole says, noting the wisdom in Kaepernick’s move. “This man got his money, know what I mean? Plus,” Cole speculates, “he’ll probably play again.”

5. JAY Z WASN’T THE FIRST PERSON INTERESTED IN COLE

Amin El-Hassan, the cousin of Cole’s manager, Ibrahim “Ib” Hamad, has been holding the rapper down since day one — he actually took J’s first mixtape and put it on the chair of every player on the Phoenix Suns roster (Amin was working for the organization at the time). The plan worked so well that Amar’e Stoudemire wanted to sign Cole to his label, Hypocalypto. Although, it was ultimately the Jigga man who closed the deal.

6. FATHERHOOD LOOKS GOOD ON HIM

Not many people know about J. Cole the father. Hell, we just found out he was married not too long ago. But, the rapper does indeed have a toddler son, and he says it took him a minute to realize how life had changed. “For a while, I felt a little weird about it. Like, nah. I felt, ‘Did I miss something?’ ‘Cause I didn’t feel the change that people talk about. And then I figured out what it was,” he says. “I changed my life in order to get ready to have a family and to have a son. I literally changed my life, where I was living, the things that I was doing. I changed. So because of that, when my son came, I was ready. I already made room.”

7. LIL PUMP IS A MARKETING GENIUS

No, for real, Cole thinks Pump’s song “Fuck J. Cole,” was a genius level stategy. “I see now that it was marketing genius,” explains Cole. “Disrespecting somebody with a bigger platform, who hasn’t yet been disrespected in that way so it seems kind of taboo, would get huge attention. Like, if I go out and scream ‘F!ck Oprah,’ I would get so much attention off it, it would be crazy.”

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