Jermaine Lamarr Cole, better known by his stage name J. Cole, previews his new documentary and drops a few dimes along the way.
Since making his debut with the release of Cole World: The Sideline Story in 2011, the rapper has followed a less than traditional path. He places an emphasis on delivering rich lyrical content as opposed to catchy hooks for radio play even if it meant shying away from money and fame. Of course, he didn’t always choose wisdom over wealth.
In a recent interview with the New York Times, Cole dished about his second HBO special, which premiered on Saturday, April 15, as well as his evolution as an artist.
“The other side, it’s what we grow up believing that we need and want. It’s everybody’s dream,” he said, addressing his early desire to be rich and famous. “Who doesn’t want the pick of the litter on this, that and the third? Money, women, cars. And beyond all of that—which I really wasn’t into—praise.”
And yet, though he “made it” reaching platinum status with no features, the 32-year-old revealed he was still unsatisfied. “Any reasonable person would be ecstatic,” he admitted. “I didn’t have that feeling.”
Since chasing his course, Cole has become more woke and put a stop to slamming fellow artists in the hip hop community. “That speaks to the state of us as a people,” he said. “For so long my mind state was, I have to show how much better than the next man I am through these bars. Who’s the best? Let me prove it. And it’s just like, damn, I’m really feeding into a cycle of keeping black people down, I’m really feeding into that.”
Previously reported, Cole released 4 Your Eyez Only, his fourth studio album, in December. In the hour-long HBO special of the same name fans got a glimpse of Cole’s life on the road, as well as the rapper participating in conversations surrounding race relations, politics, white supremacy, and much more.
“I felt like it would be mad powerful for Black people to see Black people talking to each other,” said Cole. “And you see a rapper who’s considered one of the biggest in the game, just listening.”
See a clip, after the break.