J. Cole‘s got a lot to say in his new interview with veteran media personality Angie Martinez, and we covered just about all of it.
In the revealing conversation, which was recorded at the Miami home of legendary producer Salaam Remi, just hours before Cole’s headlining set at Rolling Loud Music Festival last Friday (May 11), Cole speaks on everything: his new KOD album, that mysterious phone call from Kanye West, the true message of “False Prophets,” his upcoming tour with Young Thug, fans’ response to his album and more. He even speaks on his teased The Fall Off and KiLL Edward albums.
“I got more music,” Cole told Martinez in the interview released to YouTube today (May 16). “I don’t wanna look back 20 years and have a big vault of music that I didn’t put out. Especially when it’s songs that I love. You know what I mean? They might not be [at] the album bar, but it’s like, ‘Yo, I love that song, [I] love what I’m saying on it’. So I’m trying to find a way to get these out.”
Speaking for more than 90 minutes, Cole shot down the idea that he’s against those who are perceived as mumble rappers and even mentioned his plans to meet the rappers who’ve led “Fuck J. Cole” chants at Rolling Loud Festival.
There are many, many more gems to be unearthed, but we’ve done a lot of the work for you. Here are 10 takeaways from Cole’s new interview.
Cole used his interview with Martinez to confirm what fans had already decided a long time ago: “False Prophets” is, in fact, about Kanye West—at least partially. According to Cole, the song is really an “if the shoe fits” sort of situation and it doesn’t target a person as much as it does a phenomenon.
“First of all, [I’m] just a fan,” he told Martinez. “Really, I don’t know you. I’m just like a dude that was a fan back in the day, and when I’m writing ‘False Prophets,’ which that song wasn’t about him. There’s one verse that applies to him for sure, but if you listen to that song, that song is about what this shit is exposing. What I gotta check myself about. And I check myself on that song as well…We’re worshipping celebrities.”
During that same portion of the video, Cole admitted that he wasn’t cool that Kanye used his photo, saying that he felt Yeezy was using their quick conversation for social media. He also says that Yeezy eventually apologized for treating their interaction in that way.
In a development most people probably didn’t see coming, Cole admitted that he’s actually likes the music of folks who’ve led “Fuck J. Cole” chants in the past—seemingly including Lil Pump in that group.
Responding to Martinez’s question about how he feels about certain newer generation rappers who’ve seemingly dissed him in the past—she mentions Lil Pump, who is one such artist—Cole offers up a shocking response.
“I love them,” he explained after saying he was going to meet “them” at Miami’s Rolling Loud Music Festival last Friday (May 11).
“First of all, I fuck with them,” he explained. “I actually fuck with their music. It’s not like I drive around and listen to it, but I’ve spent time like, listening and being like, ‘Yo, this is fun.’ It ain’t about shit, and that don’t matter. This is fun.” Cole continues by saying that the tracks are fun and that even if parts of them are potentially problematic. “You know what I mean like, it might be at the cost of something, it might be some detrimental effects somewhere down the line …but I can’t deny the fact that like—what I’ma say don’t make me do this,” Cole says as he moves as shoulders as if he’s dancing.
In the years since he dropped off his 2014 Forest Hills Drive album, a project which famously went platinum without features, Cole’s gained permanent meme status and people’s assumptions that he’s against working with other rappers.
On his KOD title track, Cole seemingly confirmed the idea that he wouldn’t make songs with other rappers. Cole raps, “How come you won’t get a few features?/I think you should? How ’bout I don’t?/How ’bout you just get the fuck off my dick?/How ’bout you listen and never forget/Only gon’ say this one time, then I’ll dip/Niggas ain’t worthy to be on my shit.”
When Martinez mentions those lyrics, though, Cole shoots down that claim. “That’s to stunt, that’s not true,” Cole said. “That’s just rapping.”
Cole goes on to that that he likes working “in a closed off space,” and that he’s doesn’t make songs and feel the urge to include other rappers. He also says that he and K. Dot’s busy schedules would make recording a joint project more difficult than it would have been before this phase of their careers.
KOD‘s primary message deals with the perils of drug addiction, and it’s one that’s resonated with people all over. Cole learned this first hand when one fan sent him an Instagram direct message saying that he’d give up drugs.
He recounts the story of a fan who told him about his drug-addicted mother who, in the fan’s experience, mistreated him during her bout with the addiction. Eventually, the fan, encouraged by his loved ones, told him to distance himself from his mother while she dealt with her addiction. Ultimately, he did just that, and his mother died.
Before jumping into the next part of the message the fan sent him on IG, Cole posited that the fan probably blamed himself.
From there, he says the fan told him he was about to use the weed and pills he just bought so he could celebrate 4/20, the stoner’s holiday on which Cole dropped KOD.
The fan told Cole that he was about to use the weed and pills he’d just bought in order to numb himself from the pain he was experiencing, but that he realized that he would only be doing the same things that led to his mother’s addiction.
“Bro, I just heard your [album] [and] I realized I’m doing the same thing that she was doing,” Cole says the fan told him. Continuing from the fan’s perspective, Cole said, “This how I’ve been numbing the pain and not hitting it head on.”
Cole goes on to say that he didn’t know how the fan would handle his drug habits going forward, but that he was happy to know that he inspired him to want to make a change.
On his KOD track, “Once an Addict (Interlude),” Cole seemingly raps about his mother’s drug addiction. Cole’s done this throughout his career, and his mom has actually told him
“She was like, ‘Look, my story maybe could somebody. I’m not ashamed of nothing, so tell my story'” Cole recalled.
Cole goes on to say that his current level of fame meant that he needed to call his mom before including stories about her addiction on KOD. After all, more people are looking now than ever.
Cole was just a little surprised when he found out people were shocked that he included Young Thug on his KOD Tour. Some people said it was odd that Cole was including Thugger on his tour because they think his whole album is about being against “mumble rap.” Cole shoots down that claim and says simply that Thugger is dope.
“He’s just ill,” Cole said in response to Martinez’s question about why he decided to bring him on the tour. “If you wanna talk about Thug as like, an artist, he’s an innovator. You can call him a mumble rapper all you want, but if you know skills and the art of rapping, and you know like, how you put words together, you know pockets, you know flows, you know the the things he’s with his voice—dude is a genius.”
Real recognize real.
While explaining his belief in Young Thug, Cole put down the notion that he’s against newer school rappers.
“My album is against nothing,” Cole explains after shooting down the perception that he’s against newer rappers. ” If anything, it’s inspired by these dudes. If you listen to the flows and the patterns and the production—these dudes inspired that form. That’s the form I took to get this message off on this album.”
It turns out that Cole’s been working on The Fall Off, which is the album he teases at the very end of KOD, for over a year and a half. “Everybody Dies” and “False Prophets,” two cuts he dropped off before he released 2016’s 4 Your Eyez Only, were originally recorded for the project.
Cole says The Fall Off won’t be dropping for at least another year. It should be pretty epic when it does drop, though.
Explaining the sound of his ‘Kill Edward’ album, Cole laughs before saying the project sounds like, “the future.” Should be epic.