[TWV x 2DBz Exclusive] J. Cole: The Soul Of Cole Part 1
The pressure is on for J. Cole to live up to the expectations that the world has put on his shoulders. Ever since being signed as the first artist on Jay-Z‘s Roc Nation imprint, Cole has had all the attention on what he will do when he finally delivers his debut album. If the release of the “Friday Night Lights” mixtape was any indication regarding the hype of the Cole Train, the North Carolina rhymeslinger’s debut will be the most sought after album of 2011. During a recent stop in Las Vegas, Cole sat down with TheWellVersed and 2DopeBoyz to give a three part interview. In part one, J. Cole talks about waiting for the “Jay-Z Moment,” whether or not he will have guests on his debut, Drake, speaking on social issues and the Triple J threat on Roc Nation.
With “Friday Night Lights” heaping so much praise, Cole was asked how much of that material was originally scheduled to be on his as-yet-titled debut album.
“At some point or another, a lot of those songs were supposed to be on the album,” Cole says. “The one I was fighting with that could have made the album were ‘Enchanted.’ Farewell almost was on the album. So many songs off of the mixtape were, at one point or another, in contention to be on the album.”
Cole pauses for a moment before revealing that “Enchanted” was originally meant to feature Jay-Z but was one of many songs that Cole felt needed the touch of Hov but decided against it.
“Originally, when I did that song I wanted Jay-Z on there,” Cole reveals as he too wonders when the collaboration will happen. “People keep wondering where the Jay-Z song is and I’m trying to figure out which song I want him on. That was one of the first songs where I was like ‘Ah man I think I need Jay on this one.’”
For Cole, he feels better knowing that he doesn’t have to force a song out just to appease the masses. He’s comfortable knowing that he can continue making music and the fans will appreciate it. When the “Jay-Z Moment” comes, he assures that the fans will be the first to know.
“I’m just thinking what song speaks to me and says this is the one for Jay-Z,” he continues. “I’ve had that moment five times but it never materializes or ends up sticking. Either I do all the verses and I (say to myself) ‘I’ve got something better coming.’ That song that goes on the album, the me and Jay-Z song, it’s going to have to be spectacular.”
While that collaboration has yet to be seen, another collaboration hit the internet with the impact of a Mac truck. J. Cole and Drake turned the net on its ear with “In The Morning,” but it was a song that was far different than the super lyrical display that many anticipated.
“With Drake it wasn’t like ‘let’s not do what everyone expects,’ it was just more like (‘In The Morning’) was the song that came about and we were like ‘Ah that’s great because it’s not what everyone is expecting,’” he says about throwing fans a curveball with the collaboration.
But as for his debut album, Cole explains that he is in the same place he was a year ago when discussing whether or not he’ll be sharing the spotlight with other rappers on the album.
“A year ago they were asking me about features on the album and I said ‘no features’ a year later and it’s the same,” Roc Nation’s rookie explains. “I’m not saying there will be no features, but as of right now there’s a bunch of great songs that I haven’t had a reason to get people on. I have some people in mind but if it’s supposed to happen, it will happen. If there’s a big enough urge to get somebody on, then I’ll get them. There’s no need in forcing it just to get a feature.”
While most have been in awe with 25-year-old’s lyrical prowess, others have been more impressed with the topics he chooses to speak on. One of the stronger songs on “Friday Night Lights” wasn’t about women or being lyrically captivating. Rather, it was the powerful “See World” that addresses the murder of 5-year-old Shaniya Davis with a vigor and passion that is exactly what hip hop has been all about. But for Cole, songs that touch on social issues aren’t his responsibility, they are simply who he is.
“I don’t know if it’s a responsibility (to convey social messages),” Cole says about being a socially conscious emcee. “I don’t feel a responsibility. That’s just the type of person I am. I don’t feel like if I don’t do it nobody will, but I feel like I do my part and it just so happens to be a void right now and I might be filling that void. That’s just who I am.”
Be sure to check out part 2 later this week.