May 20th, 2010
J. Cole is one of the hottest & (truthfully) most talented rap artists to emerge in the last year. So it’s no wonder that Vibe.com decided to feature the artist as their cover story. Check out some excerpts below to find out his thoughts on the reception to his debut single, Drake, groupies and more.
VIBE: Everyone knows how important first singles are. Why was â€œWho Datâ€ the one?
J. Cole: First it was all feeling, just the sound and excitement behind it. Instead of shooting for an obviously commercial song, I love [â€œWho Datâ€] because itâ€™s really about the beat and the raps and not much more. Itâ€™s an introduction to those that were unfamiliar and also something for my fans to brag about as opposed to hearing it on the radio and being like â€˜Ehhh.â€™ I also thought it was real ill, that Iâ€™m rapping on that the way I used to always rapâ€¦ raw, aggressive. Those used to be the only raps I wrote, but as I get older, I barely do those anymore. Itâ€™s kind of interesting because the rest of my album is so far from that. Thatâ€™s probably one of the only braggadocios raps, maybe one more. Everything else is conceptual storytelling with substance and meaning. Putting that out first, kind of reflects my growth as an artist.
About a month ago, Drake mentioned the possibility of you jumping on a Thank Me Later bonus cut. Fact?
Man, me and Drake have been trying to get something done. Actually, if he reads this, tell him to send the shit he supposed to send. [Laughs] I understand we both busy and we spoke about doing some shit, but I guess schedule wise it hasnâ€™t worked out. That would be ill, but as of now itâ€™s not done.
Whatâ€™s an actual conversation like between you guys? Is it past a â€˜Whatâ€™s goodâ€™ and â€˜Congratsâ€™?
Itâ€™s not that type of relationship yet. Right now, itâ€™s a mutual respect, like I see what youâ€™re doing, youâ€™re killing the game, Iâ€™m a fan or whatever the case is. Weâ€™re both young and even though heâ€™s more established and has hits, he still doesnâ€™t have an album out. He still has to prep for that. So weâ€™re not in the position to be best friends. We can save that for when weâ€™re both laid up and chilling, but right now we both have work to do. Thereâ€™s not many rappers who I feel I really know. I think Wale is one of the few that I have a real friendship with. Not saying that wonâ€™t happen with Drake because you never know, but right now it starts with respect.
No other industry friends you confide in?
Nah man. Even Waleâ€¦ I donâ€™t want to get that twisted like we have deep conversations about life. I just feel like I know him better than the others. I keep to myself by nature.
I bet the groupies donâ€™t like that. How are you handling them?
[Laughs] I havenâ€™t figured it out, but itâ€™s not like that for me. I canâ€™t tell you crazy groupie tales. I mean they scream and go crazy as if Iâ€™m Drake. [Laughs] The craziest thing thatâ€™s happened so far is girls just asking me to sign their breasts, but there hasnâ€™t been any wild backstage stories. I truly believe that your mentality attracts certain things. Itâ€™s almost like [groupies] can feel the energy I give off, like itâ€™s probably not going to go down. I mean, I notice them, but that energy stops them in their tracks. That must be whatâ€™s happening.Â
Going back to your album, you mentioned it being a lot of storytelling, what are some of those tales?
If you could imagine a town called Dreamville, which is really to me, a mixture of my hometown Fayetteville and the city of dreams, New York. So itâ€™s like this fictional town where the story takes place and within this setting thereâ€™s all these different aspects of life. Whether itâ€™s the main characterâ€™s issues, family issues, relationship issues and then thereâ€™s this whole other issue of him trying to accomplish his goals. Prison issues, family members locked up. I see it like a movie.
For full interview:Â J.Cole Cover Story