PHOTO: Wesley Mann
It’s not often J. Cole does press. But when he does decide to sit down with a media outlet, you already know gems are gonna be dropped. And with his latest interview, a cover story with Billboard, the Dreamville captain does just that.
During the Dallas stop of his KOD tour, J. Cole sat down with the magazine to speak on compassion, the cancel culture, his ambivalent relationship to fame (“I swear to God, I be thinking about how to get unfamous, but I know it’s impossible”), a phone call he shared with the late XXXtentacion (“It was a super-intense conversation. He left a mark on me, just as a person.”), Kelis’ abuse allegations towards Nas (“I ain’t going to lie. That hurts. It feels weird because I fuck with Nas, but I don’t fuck with people abusing women, and I don’t fuck with people not taking care of their kids.”), social media, politics, and more.
Peep the cover below, keep scrolling for a few choice quotes, and read the full story at Billboard.
On avoiding social media…
“Rarely do I feel the need to hop on Twitter or social media and chime in, especially on rap and music shit. This shit is not real. This shit is fucking fake. This shit is high school. This shit is fucking celebrity worship.”
On “1985” fallback…
“I don’t look at it as being harsh. I look at it as being a rap response record. It’s not even to someone [specific]; it’s a group of people who were on some ‘Fuck J. Cole’ shit, which, when I started peeking my head back into what was going on, was a shock. But even while I made the song, I was fucking with these kids. I was a fan. I was riding around playing Lil Pump just because I wanted to understand what it was, and the more I understood, it was like, ‘Damn.’ I was writing that song from a place of, like, smacking your little brother. I still love you, but I’ma smack you.”
“With Trump in office, I love that America gets to see the truth. If Hillary Clinton was in office, it would be the most fucking disingenuous shit because everybody would be thinking that everything’s cool because we got an incredibly qualified female president. Which would’ve been amazing on so many levels. But all the shit we see right now would’ve still existed; it would’ve just been quiet. And I prefer this shit to be out loud. I prefer an honest America. I prefer the world seeing that, yes, we’re a country that is dumb enough–no disrespect–[that] we got duped into electing Donald Trump.”
The Harry Belafonte of Rap?
“I’m too selfish for that, and one day, I hope that I’m not. Right now, it’s about me, family and the music or any creative pursuits that I do. That’s selfish. I hope I do more for the community. People give me props now, but the truth is, I live my life very selfishly. The little shit I did today, that’s nothing. Harry Belafonte put his money where his mouth was and in the streets. I haven’t reached that point yet.”
On top of the Q&A, Cole also revealed he plans to take next year off from touring to work on The Off Season (which may become an EP or all-out mixtape); his next album, The Fall Off; and his Kill Edward side project. He’s also devoting more energy into the Dreamville roster—which has EarthGang and J.I.D next in line to release their new projects, MirrorLand and DiCaprio 2.