ESPN Magazine has Rapper J. COLE and NASCAR Driver DALE EARNHARDT Jr. sharing the cover of their 2015 MUSIC ISSUE!!!
Here are some interview highlights:
J. COLE: It all started when I missed the deadline for the physical CD album credits, so I decided to put them on a song and basically shout out everybody who had something to do with the album. I'd been working on the album for a year, and I was in such an ecstatic mood -- I felt like I won. So while I'm shouting out everybody, I was like, "I may as well pretend a shoutout, somebody I have no idea who they are, just as a joke."
DALE EARNHARDT JR.: "Power Trip" was coming up on my Pandora station a lot. I found out Cole was from North Carolina, and when you like a guy's music and you find out he's from where you're from, you tend to start to follow him. I heard he had a new album, and it started popping up on my Twitter timeline that there was this shoutout. I was like, "Oh shit, what's happening here?" So I went and listened to it, and it was funny as hell! So I tweeted to him, "Man, that shit's funny!" And he retweeted it and thought it was cool.
You pull for a guy because of the local connection. Normally, on the rare chance that a celebrity comes to my property, I get real nervous. But I wasn't nervous with him, because I knew this looks just like his backyard. It's a connection, a North Carolina connection, and he reps North Carolina in his music, and he's proud of where he's from and bringing recognition to Fayetteville. I'm proud of North Carolina too.
COLE: We're proud of you too, man. You're a legend. My brothers are going to flip. It's crazy that that shoutout would lead to this.
EARNHARDT: I was thinking the same thing. It was a joke, and people thought we'd never meet.
COLE: People who don't get the joke ask me about it. They're like, "Yo, what'd he tell you?" You didn't hear the song? I've never met him. He didn't tell me anything. When you tweeted that, it was a real big moment in hip-hop. People were like, "Ohhhhh!" It was a very big thing.
We're two human beings with respect for one another and for everybody. So somebody from the world I come from might not ever think Dale Earnhardt Jr. is listening to rap music or is as cool as he is or as down-to-earth as he is. There might be a certain stereotype toward a NASCAR driver in the world I'm from. Just like in the world he's from there might be ignorance as to what a rapper is and who a rapper is. That's not reality. It's two human beings that have super-duper respect for everybody.
EARNHARDT: To cross into the mainstream and mix these two fields together, it's a hell of an opportunity for my fans to be introduced to him and vice versa. There are a lot of fans of mine that are also rap music fans, and that's different from the stereotype. It's fun when you put these two worlds together because people don't expect it.