By// Quassan Castro
J. Cole has plans to build an empire of riches, a place that transcends the walls of hip-hop similar to that of his idol Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter. And you know what? He just might succeed.
He fed us for free through his widely distributed mix-tapes before the number one debut Cole World: The Sideline Story dropped, in 2011, but now J. Cole is on his grown man street elegance with the release of his second album Born Sinner.
However, success hasn’t come easy for Cole because the attention he garnered went behind just music. The public questioned his racial identity, rumors of he and Jay-Z beefing ran rampant in the blogosphere, there were also allegations of a sex-tape featuring he and pop princess Rihanna–the list goes on, but one thing no one can break is this young man’s spirit to triumph over adversity. Call him cocky, crazy or confident but he has plans to release Born Sinner on June 18th, the same day Kanye West is slated to drop his album Yeezus.
In an interview with JETmag.com, J. Cole talks about Born Sinner, his brave move to compete with Kanye West, which R&B stars music he’d listen to during lovemaking and much more.
Power Trip featuring Miguel is most definitely a winner! What type of vibe were you going for on your sophomore album?
I don’t think I was going for a specific vibe. I guess some artists start albums and they know what they want to go for. I flush out all of my ideas and let the vibe take place on its own. On Born Sinner the vibe is slow one second and the next it’s up-tempo and upbeat. It’s a really interesting style of music.
Born Sinner was ranked several times as the most anticipated album of 2013. Is there any pressure towards you to appease a very critical hip-hop audience?
I don’t think I dealt with that type of pressure for this album. I have self-pressure. I have higher expectations for myself than anyone else can ever have for me. I can be my own worst critic. I think I exceeded my expectations on Born Sinner. It’s a good feeling!
Which song is jumping at you as a potential second single?
“Crooked Smile“ featuring TLC. It’s a classic anthem for people that deal with issues with themselves and fight through it. I produced it with my man Elite.
You and Kanye are slated to drop your CD’s on the same day. I understand that decision was made as a result of you wanting to show Kanye you can kick his a** competitively?
[Laughs] I didn’t word it like that. All I know is my album is something I’m super duper proud of. I’m confident enough to move my release date to the same day of someone I truly respect and am a big fan of. I don’t know what [Kanye] has but I know what I got. I’m competitive by nature. I can’t control the sales but I can control the music.
People think just because they don’t see Jay-Z in your music videos or at your hip like they might see Wayne with some of his artists or Diddy with his artists, that you and Jay have beef. Even though no one expects the owner of Atlantic Records to dance with Trey Songz in his videos. Elaborate on your relationship with Jay-Z.
I heard the rumor of us beefing. It’s based on nothing, we have a great relationship. I respect and idolize that dude. I one day want to be in the same position. It was a time when he was in all of the Roc-A-Fella artist videos. He’s older now and has different priorities. Jay is a businessman. He signed me, that’s enough. I respect that Jay let’s me do what I want to do.
In a friendly rap battle between Wiz Khalifa verses Kendrick Lamar, who do you think would win lyrically?
Kendrick Lamar in a battle. I don’t know though Wiz might have some funny lines cause he gets high all the time. I pick Kendrick though.
If you had 3 CDs Trey Songz, Miguel and Chris Brown, which artist would youplay first during intense lovemaking?
Awwww man! Miguel first. If I had a second pick, it would be Trey Songz. That was a hard question.
Who’s the most beautiful out of the two Nicki Minaj or Mariah Carey?
Wooo! Mariah Carey was one of the biggest crushes of my life when she was younger. I use to pray that Mariah Carey had a daughter my age so I could just marry her and run away. [Laughs] I use to have dreams about being with Mariah! That’s a tough question! You trying to get me in trouble! (Pauses) Nicki Minaj is the most beautiful.
Quassan Castro is a news and entertainment journalist.