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Backdropped by a collage of classic Hip-Hop artworks, J. Cole traces the roots of his humble beginnings, notebook in hand, on the latest cover of Complex.

The third of three cover stars, Jermaine Cole is aptly interviewed by his then college roommate, Damien Scott. Somewhere in between their in-depth conversation, Cole realizes his greatest lesson since his foray into the rap game.

“I was unhappy when amazing things were happening, [career successes] that I should have been grateful for and super happy for,” he explained. “I didn’t feel I was getting the type of recognition I always wanted and that I felt you had to get to be considered at a certain level. Last year, I started to realize that means nothing. It’s all unattainable. You have no control over what somebody else feels about you, but you have 100 percent control over how you feel about yourself and how you feel about the people around you and how you handle life. I became happier and started to deal with shit more, not run from the feelings, not have the anxiety, like, ‘Complex ain’t f*cking with me? Man, f*ck these n*ggas. They missed the whole sh*t. They didn’t even tell n*ggas about The Warm Up and Friday Night Lights. They’re going to sleep on Born Sinner. Y’all didn’t see I sold more than Kanye?!'”

Hit the gallery for more of Cole’s digital spread. To read full story, visit HERE. 2014 Forest Hills Drive due out Dec. 9.

Photos: Complex

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