J. Cole enjoys both the adoration of his massive support base and often unfair barbs of criticism from his detractors. In a new and rare interview, the North Carolina star took aim at Soundcloud rappers, the recent disses against him, and what he’s aiming to stand for in an industry that promotes everything he’s largely against.
“It’s really a ‘shoe fits’ situation — several people can wear that shoe,” Cole says cryptically. “Why you yelling at your show? You must feel attacked in some kind of way, must feel offended, and if you feel offended, then that means something rings true, something struck a chord. That’s cool with me. That’s all I ever want to do.”
For Cole, the target is more general. He takes aim at what he sees as the cartoon version of hip-hop. “If you exclude the top three rappers in the game, the most popping rappers all are exaggerated versions of black stereotypes,” he says. “Extremely tatted up. Colorful hair. Flamboyant. Brand names. It’s caricatures, and still the dominant representation of black people, on the most popular entertainment format for black people, period.”
And yet, Cole is paying more attention to the newer generation than he has in years. He’s made his peace with the Lil Uzi Verts and Lil Yachtys of the world (who he is said to have collectively dissed on the 2016 loosie “Everybody Dies”), digs hip-hop’s newest problematic fave, XXXTentacion, “f*cks with” Trippie Redd, and has had Lil Baby’s “All of a Sudden” stuck in his head for four days straight. “I’m now in a place where I can hear people and get excited, like this kid is dope as f*ck,” he says. “I wasn’t there before — everybody was trash.”
The earlier portion of the quote above was a direct reference to chants of “F*ck J. Cole” at a recent Smokepurpp concert, and the chatter suggesting his album KOD‘s closing track “1985” is aimed at Smokepurpp collaborator Lil Pump and others of that generation.
The entire interview, which is a fascinating read, can be seen here.