With two weeks to go before he drops his debut Cole World: The Sideline Story, an anxious J. Cole prepares for his moment in the spotlight. The Roc Nation signee speaks to Jay-Z’s Life + Times about his growth as an artist and dropping his first album at 26, the same age as his mentor and Kanye West.
“I’ve grown as a producer, I’ve grown as a rapper, an artist, my understanding of the industry has grown so much,” he reflected. “I didn’t know nothing back then. I just knew I could rap good and I could make good beats.”
Cole, an avid Kanye West fan, recalls downloading Late Registration before purchasing it (“I couldn’t wait”) and playing it on his college roommate’s speakers early in the morning. “I want to give people that feeling,” he explained amidst live clips of him performing “Higher” and “Before I’m Gone.”
He doesn’t plan on taking too much time off as he sets out on his career. “I’ve already come to grips with the fact this is my life, and it’s cool. I want more,” said the hungry MC, who finally bought a couch for his apartment. But he won’t be resting comfortably for too long.