J. Cole sat down with radio personality Angie Martinez for a 94-minute interview in producer Salaam Remi’s studio house in Miami this weekend before headlining the Rolling Loud Festival. He posted the YouTube clip on Wednesday (May 16) and talked about supporting Cardi B, connecting with fans on a deeper level through KOD (Kids on Drugs, King Overdose or Kill Our Demons, “choose wisely”) and his phone call from Kanye West.
Here are the eight things that make us appreciate J. Cole more after the interview:
J. Cole Is Particular About His Meditation
He tries to meditate for at least five minutes to clear his head before a big performance, like his 10:45 p.m. Friday set for Rolling Loud. His meditation is separate from his prayer, but J. Cole’s rituals primarily relate to when he gets anxious about stressful situations. “I want to become disciplined to where it is a part of my life every day when things are like good or things a little stressful,” he told Martinez.
Drake Texted Him “I Hate You” After KOD Smashed Drake’s Spotify & Apple Music Records
J. Cole’s latest album KOD broke the Spotify record for biggest opening day with 36.6 million plays, which was previously held by Drake’s More Life album. J. Cole also beat his Views album on Apple Music with 64.5 million plays. “Yeah, he texted me and said, ‘I hate you,’” J. Cole said, laughing.
The First Thing He Did When He Returned to Twitter was Support Cardi B
Martinez said the “Bodak Yellow” singer was “vulnerable” after an interview with The Breakfast Club on Power 105.1. “I just feel like people give her so much advice. … But I saw her interview and it just seemed like, ‘Damn, they put a mad pressure on this girl to try to beat herself,’” J. Cole added. He told Martinez that after being in the same shoes as Cardi B — not the bloody shoes — he wanted to let her know on Twitter that she “already won.”
Also Cardi b I seen your breakfast club interview, loved it. Don’t put all that pressure on your album. You already won. Just drop & repeat
— J. Cole (@JColeNC) September 24, 2017
Someone Sent J. Cole a Super Long Instagram DM the Night KOD Dropped
J. Cole’s personal narrative about addiction on his fifth album connected his listeners to dealing with the addiction issues within their families. One fan DMed the “Kevin’s Heart” rapper on Instagram hours after the album dropped on April 20 about how he was setting aside the weed and pills he bought to celebrate 4/20 to reflect on his late mother’s addiction. J. Cole shared another story about a friend of a friend who cried because her younger brother opened up to her for the first time about their mother’s addiction upon listening to KOD. “Once they hear the stories, like… they never had a space to get it off, so that type of stuff is making it for me, and in those moments, I remember,” he said. “That’s my hope, that’s my intention.”
J. Cole Admitted to Being kiLL Edward, His Alter Ego
The moniker “J. Cole” felt like a “box” to the rapper after his 2014 album 2014 Forest Hills Drive. His music from his early career focused on his aspirations and come-up within rap music, but to J. Cole, talking about himself felt very limited. After experimenting with his production and voice in his later music, he discovered a different style thought to be idiosyncratic of a different character he would come to play in KOD. “I needed a fire name so it checks that box,” he said. “But when I say ‘kiLL Edward,’ what I’m talking about is like the shit that I feel like I inherited from him.” Edward is the name of J. Cole’s stepfather, who came into his life when the rapper was 5 or 6 years old. J. Cole said he inherited “unhealthy” characteristics from him that he wants to “kill off.” His self-contained persona is the only feature on the album, as heard in the line from “KOD,” “N—as ain’t worthy to be on my shit,” which J. Cole told Martinez sent crowds in an uproar.
Sorry K-Dot Fans, But There Will Not Be a J. Cole/Kendrick Lamar Collab Album… At Least Not Right Now
Martinez asked Cole if he would ever collaborate with Kendrick Lamar on an album, and he denied the rumors. “It’s not that I wouldn’t want to work with him, that’s not the case,” he said. “It’s just that when I’m working on my album, it’s just like, ‘Yo, that’s just how I operate.’” He went on to talk about how Prince and Michael Jackson never worked on an album together, but clarified that he wasn’t comparing himself to Prince. J. Cole and Lamar have worked on “ideas” together earlier on in their careers, but would not call it an album. “He got a career I got a career, I got a family he got a family, it’s like… it would have been easier back then.”
Kanye Called J. Cole & Tweeted About it, But J. Cole Was Not Happy About That
Kanye West tweeted May 1 a screenshot of a phone call with J. Cole for about four minutes that has since been deleted with the caption “we got love.” J. Cole admitted to not knowing that picture would be shared on social media, saying, “I would have never posted that or like tell him to post that.” He said West apologized for the tweet, and the “False Prophets” singer told him, “It felt like you just used my name in that very quick conversation for, for social media and for like to keep your thing going. … It felt like it wasn’t sincere because of that.” He remained hesitant about discussing every detail of his conversation with West. “I feel like I got used as a pawn, and then that somehow it looks like I agree with what this dude is saying and agree with what he’s doing and the way he’s going about it and really that’s very far from the case,” he said. “I actually on the phone was concerned for him. That’s the real truth.”
Charlamagne Tha God noted in his interview with West that J. Cole’s “False Prophets” track seemed to diss the “Ultralight Beam” artist. “That song wasn’t about him,” J. Cole confirmed to Martinez. “There’s one verse that applies to him for sure, but if you’ve listened to that song, that song is about what this shit is exposing and… I check myself on that song as well.” West wanted to squash their supposed beef with another tweet. He shared a link to Smokepurpp’s website with the rapper’s remixed version of West’s “Lift Yourself,” saying, “I’m posting this but not as a diss to J Cole. I love J Cole.”
I’m posting this but not as a diss to J Cole. I love J Cole. I also love where Purp took his flow
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) April 29, 2018
J. Cole Loves SoundCloud Rappers & Their Music
Despite the elevated stance J. Cole has in the rap game, he appreciates artists like Lil Pump, whose popularity grew from releasing his music on SoundCloud. “First of all, I fuck with them,” J. Cole told Martinez. “I actually fuck with their music. I’ve spent time like listening and being like, ‘Yo, this is fun.’” He said their music, whether it means something or not, still makes him dance as he shook his shoulders during the interview. Lil Pump, as well as Lil Xan and Lil Skies, also performed at Rolling Loud this year. Like Cardi B, J. Cole stated he could also put himself in their shoes “to want fame so bad and to want attention so bad, especially at such a young age,” and discussed learning to respect and empathize with their hustle.
Watch the interview below: