J. Cole (Also) Covers Complex (Dec./Jan.)

blame it on Meka November 24, 2014

First Wale (and Jerry), then Nicki. Now J. Cole will grace the third cover of Complex’ upcoming winter issue.

In his piece, Cole – who will be dropping his new LP, 2014 Forest Hills Drive, in the coming days – sat down at his childhood home to talk about everything from what he wants to teach the youth, making songs, and more.


Some choice quotes:

It’s not exciting to receive business offers?

I’m not excited by business. I want to make music. I want to perform. Louis Vuitton—or whoever the fuck—could come to me right now and say, “We want to do a major deal with you,” and I’d be like, “Thank you. That’s flattering. And yeah, fine, let’s do it.” But there’s no excitement. Excitement is the anticipation of knowing people are about to hear my music. That other shit is an honor and I appreciate it because it [shows that] the work has spread so far that it’s making it on these brands’ radar. But it’s not exciting.

But it seems you’re at a place, business-wise, that makes sense for you.

Things have the opportunity to be great. I’m laying the foundation right now. Am I a great businessman yet? No.

Do you want to be a great businessman?

I want to be a great artist first, and as good of a businessman as I can be without taking away from my art form. I’ve been through worrying about a hit and it forcing me to make [a certain] type of song because I got all this pressure. Business is only satisfying in the security of it and the fact that the better I am at business, the better I am at providing for my family. Business moves don’t bring me happiness. The things the business moves provide bring me happiness.

You rap a lot about love. What is it that attracts you to it?

I guess because I’m interested. I became more conscious of that with this album. That’s what Hollywood represents versus 2014 Forest Hills Drive, which is home. Home is wherever the authentic, unconditional love is. The fake shit, the synthesized love, is Hollywood. I ran from Fayetteville to New York, from New York to everywhere, ultimately looking for what? For love—respect and love from my peers, love from the fans, love from the critics. I’ve learned that none of that shit is real. I appreciate it, it’s extra love, but it can and should only help and add to the real pot of love. It should not substitute. “Artists” that go to Hollywood and live their lives for the cameras, the attention, they’re supplementing for their lack of love, their holes. Those people—and maybe myself included—are ultimately running away from the place where the real love exists, because maybe it’s too painful, maybe it wasn’t the type of love that they needed, or it was void there. There was no father, there was no support. Wanting to be a movie star, wanting to be a rap star, wanting to have jewelry, wanting to have girls, and wanting to have money, all that shit is just trying to plug those holes. It’s dangerous because it’s not real.

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