J. Cole recently sat down with Vulture to discuss his new album KOD — which is on track to debut at No. 1 on next week’s Billboard 200 albums chart with 2018’s biggest sales week so far — his relationship with Kevin Hart, his haters and the joys of being a father.
Below, check out our favorite sound bites from the interview.
On finding clarity while hiking the Swiss Alps: “You could see crazy landscapes, crazy mountains, and just how beautiful it was. And how impossible it was that this shit was created. It looked like folds; bunches in God’s clothes. Seeing that shit at one time hit me like, damn, the audacity of humans. It made me feel like humans were trying to be God. Because everything we’re doing is humans trying to prove we’re greater than God. And it felt like, how dare you, bro? Just looking at mountain ranges, like, you could never do that.”
On the next generation of 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 how he felt when writing 2014 Forest Hills Drive: “I didn’t like how I felt about my life. I’d been depressed for like three years. And I realized I was putting too much importance on what other people thought about me.
On being a family man: “There was no better decision I could have made than the discipline I put on myself of having responsibility, having another human being — my wife — that I have to answer to. Family can literally be the thing you always needed, bring balance and meaning and fuel your creativity, give you purpose.”
On the pressure he feels as a celebrity: “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.”