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J. Cole keeps a healthy distance between his adoring fanbase and his personal life, so the rare chances to get a deeper glimpse into his life are a welcome moment. In a new interview, the Dreamville Records honcho shared details about his life few knew such as getting caught smoking cigarettes as a boy, his love of basketball, and more.

J. Cole sat down with ESPN’s Lead By Example with Bob Myers, hosted by Golden State Warriors GM, Bob Myers. As one of the top executives in professional sports, Myers’ program might not seem like a likely spot for J. Cole but the interview was wide-ranging, revealing, and full of heart.

Early in the chat, the North Carolina artist born Jermaine Cole shared a story of how he was sneaking around at the age of 6 with friends and got into a pack of cigarettes. While Cole was trying to embody the cool of his older neighborhood pals, his older brother didn’t approve of his actions and told their mother.

Cole went on to say that the moment changed his life and that he learned how to model better behavior and began correcting himself whenever he strayed off his path. In a bid to not disappoint others, Cole says be became a “self-corrector.”

Later in the chat, Cole talks about being passed over at the Grammys in earlier parts of his life, his creative process, and much more.

Check out the discussion between J. Cole and Bob Myers below.

Photo: Getty