Interview: J Cole
Mon, 03 Oct 2011 16:37:47
J Cole's Cole World: The Sideline Story is on a collision course with the top of the Billboard sales chart this week. And really, why shouldn't it be? In addition to his God-given talent, the rapper, who is signed to Jay-Z's Roc Nation and spent his summer touring with Rihanna. So Cole has set the table for hard-earned, well-deserved success.
ARTISTdirect.com News Editor Amy Sciarretto got time with Cole on the eve of the album's release, where he spoke about his fond memories on the "Loud" tour; the "bedroom effect" for his songs; working with female rap guru Missy Elliott; a secret from his youth; and acting, which runs in his family. It was quite an enlightening chat with this hot young superstar. Read on!
You spent your summer vacation on tour with Rihanna. What was the most memorable show for you?
Doing Greensboro, North Carolina, and when we did New York, in Long Island. It felt like the response was so good in these places. It was an arena full of people, 20,000 people or how many ever. It was the screams that were doing it for me. It was cool that people knew the words to my songs. Those were two of the biggest [shows] that stuck out.
It's cool that it was not just one region of the country where people were responding and reacting to you, but in two very different parts of the east coast.
Let's pick one song off of Cole World: The Sideline Story and go deep enough to reach marrow. How about "God's Gift," which is a bit off the beaten path. Put us in your headspace and your mindset for that song.
I made that song one day in my room. I find I make most of my best songs in my bedroom and I made that one day at the house, in my room. I thought I was going to make something and then throw it out to my fans when I was done with my album, but I made that beat and made that song in a few hours. It was too special to just throw it out there, so I decided to keep it for my album.
Any other songs you want to share a nugget of information about? Anything you want us to know?
"Breakdown" is the last song, and it's super personal, super deep and emotional.
You worked with early-'00s hip-hop icon Missy Elliott on "Nobody's Perfect." How was it getting in the thick of it with her? Were you a huge fan? Did it blow your mind, like "Holy shit. I'm working with Missy Elliott!?"
In middle school, I was huge Missy fan. She was super creative as far as female rappers go. You could argue that she is the best. She has so many flows, so many styles. I think she even has better flow than most male rappers, but whatever. I have great memories of her music, through high school. I just remember her being so creative in hip-hop. As for our collaboration, it was a last minute song, one of the last songs I made for the album. I had four days left to turn it in, and it happened fast. She was super cool, super humble and she worked with me. We went and laid it down at the studio and I hit her back, asking her if she could try one more thing, but she had already left the studio. She actually turned around and came back.
That was super cool of her! Is she one of your favorite artists you've worked with?
Jay-Z, too, since I am such a fan, just like Missy. The fact that I got to work with him is incredible, too.
Give us a J. Cole world exclusive. Tell us something that's not related to Cole World: The Sideline Story or your music.
When I was real, young, me and brother, we were so mischievous. I smoked for the first time at six years old. I was smoking with the kids in the neighbors when I was six. I got caught by mom. When I was seven or eight, I told my mom, I could collect all the cigarettes in the world and burn them. I was young when I found out that these things caused cancer, so that was my idea. Why can't I just buy them all and burn them? I didn't understand that tobacco companies would keep making them. On one hand, I was being a troublemaker kid, by smoking, and them on the other hand, I was a super concerned and caring kid, wanting to burn them all since they caused cancer. I wanted to be a vet, too, since I loved animals.
You turned out good, though!
You know how I turned out so good? My own brother told on me.
I know you are just diving right into your musical career, but do you think you will ever try to attempt an acting gig like so many other hip-hop and urban stars have, such as T.I. and Chris Brown?
I want to try my hand, but I want to make sure I am good. My mother is an actress; she is incredible and should have been a movie star. That is how good she is, so it's in me. But if I was going to do it, I want to do it good.