Rapper J. Cole discussed his career and legacy with GQ magazine in a rare interview. The musician also appeared on the cover of the same issue.
The “Middle Child” artist spoke to the magazine before performing at the 2019 NBA All-Star Game in February, which took place in his home state of North Carolina. According to Billboard, his interview led the magazine to feature the 34-year-old producer in its April cover story. The full profile was released on Monday, and the cover of the April issue features the artist wearing a beige shirt, his dreadlocks flowing freely. The rapper simply looks straight into the camera with a serious expression.
J. Cole rarely speaks to the media about his personal life or his career, but reportedly dished on topics such as stepping out of his comfort zone — and the sessions that take place at his label, Dreamville.
Cole (whose full name is Jermaine Lamar Cole) has been known to omit features from his albums, having done so since his Grammy nominated album Forest Hill Drive in 2014. The album made Cole the first artist to have an album go platinum without any features. In 2017, rapper Joey Bada$$ claimed the “Crooked Smile” rapper was no longer featuring other artists on his work, and was not giving away features to other artists. However, J. Cole has since changed his mind about this decision, and appeared on 21 Savage’s latest album, I Am > I Was, and Offset’s album, Father of 4. Cole said his decision to collaborate with other artists again came about when he looked at the longevity of his career, and in ultimately not wanting to have any regrets.
“I’ve reached the point in my life where I’m like, ‘How long am I gonna be doing this for?'” he said. “I’m starting to realize like, oh sh*t — let’s say I stopped this year. I would feel like I missed out on certain experiences ya know? Working with certain artists, being more collaborative, making more friends out of peers, making certain memories that I feel like if I don’t, I’m gonna regret it one day.”
J. Cole also spoke about not being recognized by the Grammys. The rapper has been nominated several times for award categories like Best New Artist and Best Rap Album. The “Forbidden Fruit” artist has been overlooked for each nod, which he has publicly criticized on social media. He does, however, cheer on his peers who have received their awards — even going so far as congratulating artists like Cardi B for her Grammy win for Best Rap Album in February. Billboard reports that Cole is now “at peace” with being left out of a Grammy win.
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Put simply, J. Cole is one of the most popular rap artists of this generation. His two early mixtapes, 'The Warm Up' and 'Friday Night Lights,' are considered classics. He's released five albums, all of them platinum-certified chartbusters. Three of these went platinum with no features—as in, without the help of appearances by other artists. At the link in bio, read about how the North Carolina rapper ascended to the hip-hop world's top tier. (????@awolerizku)
“I’m not supposed to have a Grammy, you know what I mean? At least not right now, and maybe never,” he said. “And if that happens, then that’s just how it was supposed to be.”