Giving his first extended interview in three years, J. Cole recently met with Paul Cantor from Vulture to discuss his newly released record, KOD. Having largely abstained from the limelight since his 2016 record, 4 Your Eyez Only, Cole’s latest profile piece illustrates the rapper as more willing than ever to embrace the world.
Opening up on a wide range of topics, Cole dishes out on how he views the future of hip-hop while discussing his suspicion around the younger generation of up-and-coming rappers. Similarly, Cole speaks on how working on Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. tour planted the seed for this record and why he refused to have any guest features. Elsewhere, he touches upon his family life, more specifically his wife and son and why he heeds Dave Chappelle’s advice.
Have a scroll through some of the takeaways from the interview below, and when you’re done, be sure to visit Vulture for the full read.
On the normalization of drug culture
“We live in a society where all this drug use is normalized, it’s the norm, it’s okay, it’s fucking encouraged, it’s fucking promoted. You turn on the TV — you feeling down? Of course I’m feeling down, I’m a fucking human being. Try this. Whatever this thing is. Like, nah, how about you actually feel sad and figure out what the fuck it is that got you feeling sad, so you can work on that?”
On SoundCloud rappers
“If you exclude the top three rappers in the game, the most popping rappers all are exaggerated versions of black stereotypes. Extremely tatted up. Colorful hair. Flamboyant. Brand names. It’s caricatures, and still the dominant representation of black people, on the most popular entertainment format for black people, period.”
On Kendrick Lamar’s ‘DAMN.’ tour
“Kendrick’s show gave me chills because I got to see what it was like to have a hit album performed, and it set off a desire. It was a recognition — like ‘Oh, I’ll take that again.’ Like looking at a menu, ‘I’ll have that again.’”
On Donald Glover’s ‘Deadpool’ script
“That was just a flex. Like, Here, let me show you what I can do.”
On Dave Chappelle’s family advice
“Dave Chappelle gave me some baby advice. He said: “You’ll hit another gear, you’ll hit a gear that you never knew you had when you have kids. It actually proved to be true.””
On the price of fame
“It’s appealing to be in a room full of famous people – it says I’m important enough to be here. But it [comes with] the pressure of wanting to be somebody — like, Who am I supposed to be in this party? Around all these famous-ass people, who am I supposed to be? You’re supposed to be yourself. Now, if I’m going in, I’m going in as me.”
For a quick recap, you can stream J. Cole’s KOD here and watch the video for “ATM” below.