Saturday, September 29, 2018


FRANKFURT, GERMANY-born, FAYETTEVILLE, NC-bred Rapper-Songwriter-Producer J.COLE is the cover story for the BILLBOARD 2018 R&B HIP-HOP POWER PLAYERS Issue of BILLBOARD Magazine!!!

Here are some interview interludes:

You seem to be making yourself more accessible to the press. Why the recent change?
Ib [Ibrahim Hamad, Cole’s manager] and the team thought it would be good. No disrespect to Billboard, but I literally was not in the mood. I was fine.
Fine how? Not needing this?

Just [not] having the desire to do it. And sometimes, when I do do [press], I end up feeling like it wasn’t fulfilling. But I also understand I’ve been stuck in my ways. 2014 was probably the year I decided, “F*ck it, I’m through trying to play whatever game is going on.” Then sh*t worked so well I fell all the way back. I’m on the other extreme now. I don’t want to be so stubborn where I don’t listen to people. I’m also building a company, a record label, with other artists. Their success, in some way, may depend on me being a little more present or accessible.
Did you vote in 2016?
No, I didn’t.
Do you think that might change by 2020 or the midterms?
The next election? It depends on who they put up there. Trust me, I hate to be a person who’s even promoting that I didn’t vote. Actually, with Trump in office, I love that America gets to see the truth. If Hillary Clinton was in office, it would be the most f*cking disingenuous sh*t 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 sh*t we see right now would’ve still existed; it would’ve just been quiet. And I prefer this sh(t 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.
Because you’re quiet on social media, no one knows where your mind is. It leads to misunderstandings about you.
Yeah, and they paint the narrative. That’s real. “Finger wagging,” that’s a phrase that clearly gets shared around. I’m like, “Y’all don’t even understand.” This happened when [2014 album] Forest Hills Drive came out, and I saw someone review it. It was this white girl -- no disrespect to white girls, that’s just what she was -- and she pinpointed a few lines and tried to make it sound like that’s what I was saying. I’m like, “D*mn, you really missed what I was attempting to do.” I saw that with “1985,” too. I would just chalk it up to, they’re not rap fans. They don’t understand subtlety and nuance in the genre. But what you just said is way more of an on-point reasoning. I made that song a year before, and so much sh*t happened, mentally, leading up to the song and after it. And it’s like people never even get a chance to hear that side of me. But I don’t care to correct it. I don’t have an urge or a desire to be like, “Hey, y’all, you know when I did ‘1985,’ I wasn’t really finger wagging.” It’s not my job to correct the narrative.
Right. Do you think cancel culture has any legitimacy?
That’s tough because we’re talking about black women. If it was a white woman involved with these allegations, then sadly -- I’m realizing as I’m talking to you -- maybe people wouldn’t cancel them just as quick, but labels would be forced to cancel, because white outrage is way more powerful than black outrage, unfortunately. When white people start getting outraged about this type of sh*it, then maybe something will happen.
Despite your discomfort with fame, people look to you as a sort of moral authority. Someone said to me at the charity event that you’re like the Harry Belafonte of rap.
Really? He’s a legend.
Do you want that responsibility?
No, because there’s a long history of activism and standing for something, and I haven’t done enough. 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.

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