Meet The Musician: J. Cole

Meet The Musician: J. Cole



Apple presents meet the musician at the Apple Store ladies and gentlemen please welcome this evening's guest moderator Nick essa moody and tonight's guest J Cole what's up how y'all doing thank y'all for having me thank y'all for taking time out of shopping I guess and for y'all for showing up thank you few hundred people waiting to meet you what's it been like this week you know with this album coming out and all the fans it's been crazy even now like I'm exhausted but it's all part of like when your album comes out and so part of the process the last night it was way more there's so many people out there that I'm signing five hours I was at the album signing like signing I was it was like every day every minute of your day – released week is filled doing something promoting that happen so it's been a but I'm enjoying it way more this time the first album it was so new to me this time I like I've been through it and I'm really just appreciating every person that like bought the album you know me like I went to I just stopped at a random Best Buy in the city oh excuse me no we don't buy albums from there we buy albums from Apple Store and I told but I did just go in because I wanted to get the real value of like just getting my album and I've seen this kid who had no you know he's like he came in and just get it and he's looking at me like yo what are you doing here you know and I'm looking at him like yo thank you for buying my album man you know me like he couldn't he was like can I get a picture I was like yeah you can get her you just bought my album man you get a picture come on so I'm enjoying it I say that's it it's cool that you're still so excited about meeting the fans and first week because I would imagine them deeper that you get into it sometimes it's after just like the first album people are like okay well I don't feel like doing this I don't want to do that right no I appreciate it man because I underst like yeah you know people don't have to without the people like I'm not I don't exist like I'm making a music but like there has to be somebody to receive it and enjoy it for this thing that happens you know it's a two-way street so I'm not jaded at all and I'm not like of course you had those days where it's like oh man it can get overwhelming but you know I give a lot of my time people don't even know like I give a lot of my time to like taking those extra pictures signing those extra autographs I appreciate people so what is it about you know hearing from people like in the audience I like it when they connect to a song or when they tell me things like yo man this song right here changed my life I go I listen to the warm-up it got me through high school it made me go to college or it got me through college like I got through my law school by listening to Friday Night Lights or like I like the personal connections when they tell me like how a certain song or a certain project affected their life or why they can't relate to this song that's what I enjoy like the hit records of fun tools like it's cool to go to like a club or to a concert and everybody knows the words you know sometimes we do some exams and in order to do a summer jam you have to have radio records so it's nice to go there and hear people sing the word but the best feeling is like that more intimate connection with like you really touched somebody with one of your songs that's that's what gives me the most pleasure now you mentioned iTunes obviously they please get down to chunky kind of us right now man we gotta do that just listen I told kaya is the first one that you see when you open iTunes right now I'm in a second if you're I promise you flip that around I got a shot so just put me first and watch the numbers just skyrocket in my favor it's not oh yeah so please go get that boy Center right now on iTunes thank you well I think it's really interesting is a lot of people when someone like a Kanye it's coming out they'll say well let me move my back to like July or let me just give this person space where you did the opposite you're just like okay bring it Kanye yeah I want to go come on Jesus yes so tell me what made you kind of feel like okay first of all like I'd say all this joking because I am like a real big fan everybody knows like so so that aside I'm also a real big competitor so I had a date of June 25th already locked in and um and I heard he was coming on June 18th while I'm finishing the album and at first I didn't think much of it but then when it got confirmed it got real and I was like oh wait a minute I ain't gonna come a week after a Kanye album and like you know it's gonna be all this hoopla I like fanfare which he's earned and deserve all that but I didn't want to be in the shadow of that I don't want to be the week after I was like now I'm gonna move mine and join the conversation like put my name in the conversation listen to mine in the same week and then you decide what you like you might love both my love hits hate mine you might hate his love mine I just want to be in the conversation and let you know that I think my arm is great and you know you decide okay no I only made three calls one was it was to Jay brown from roc nation when was so my manager Mark Pitts and then one was to Jay Z I just called these people with Jay Brown was like y'all felt like he liked the spirit the competitive spirit market is saying they all across the board everybody was like yo you got nothing to lose it's like it's a ballsy move and it's like you know they were all supportive now the label and the people that actually got to make it happen and get the album to iTunes and to tell how to hey we're moving our date those people were a little more concerned like yo can we actually make this happen but when you know everybody was really supportive and it's here now it feels good that we finally here it kind of reminds me of like a few years ago when 50 in Kanye won then was sort of like the top dog and it kind of reminds me and that you are approaching that you are at that level where people are looking at you as someone who could maybe take on a Kanye and they're fulfilling your promise what does it feel like to be at this level with this it does feel good I do it recognize that I got a long way to go just you know just for what I want out of my career you know I want a lot of music out and a lot of albums and I want to fill up arenas one day so personally I have a long way to go but it does feel good that that people are saying like yo poor sinner wait better than use is like you know they just ride it for me and it's cool to even be in that conversation and have that conversation but like I have to be grateful that I made that decision and follow my heart because had I not made that decision this wouldn't be the conversation right now you know what I mean it's like it's like I'm forcing two other people the fans already feel how they feel about me I'm forcing two other people that weren't really paying attention to now be like hmm you know I mean let me take it let me take another listen and you know at least see what this kid is talking about this certainly raises the stakes for you a lot of promise and people have been talking about you for a while now do you kind of feel like you've realized everything that you want it with this album cuz I know that you talked a little bit about your first album you weren't quite didn't feel like you hit it as much as you wanted yeah I heard the first I was doing the hammer signing yesterday and they played the first album because they were playing born sinner over and over and I liked the third album like yellow my man come on like please change it so they put on the first album and I was listening to this when I was like oh my god like the other album was really good it's just like two song two songs in a row that looking back I would you know if I could have inserted two different zones like it would change the entire album you know what I mean so I was like that little spot away which is not a big deal in the grand scheme of things but to me it's a big deal you know I'm a perfectionist so that's what I mean when I said the first time I'm very proud of it you know I mean I'm grateful for it but this album you know I'm completely how to go through the whole thing and like it get still gets better than me each listen you know I'm saying so what I don't even know what the question was but I wanted to clarify you know it was like the first album was was not a disappointment for me but it was definitely a learning lesson you know I mean and yes it didn't have that sales-wise it killed the game and it changed the industry but it didn't have that critical acclaim that I want it like Friday Night Lights did that's really what got that the warm-up in there Friday Night Lights but I was so focused on that album my first album that I couldn't appreciate how big Friday night Friday Night Lights was you know what I mean like that was critically acclaimed like that was a wave when it came out but I was so worried about my album I couldn't appreciate it and saying thank you you know for that response what kind of pressure did you feel making born Center being that and making it you were a Grammy nominee now you know I felt no pressure make a born sinner that was the whole point you know I was for the first time in years you know in a couple years I was pressureless I was like 100% free just making music for the fun of it just if I wanted to make a beat that day I made a beat and ass beat ended up being like Chris Tucker or something I was just playing around with like lyrics or something or it'd be Kenny Lofton it was way more just free you know because the first album did so well and that was one of the things I was so nervous about was like performing well for the company rock nation in Columbia my management the fans and hip-hop you don't get but so many chances like if I were to came out and did like 60,000 it would have been hard to bounce back from that because hip-hop is so competitive people want to point and be like look what he did you know it's like that it's various bad that it's like that but it's like that you know I mean so once that pressure was everything's afloat out I was listen to another interview kind of compared it to like LeBron and his his question get that first yeah exactly yeah you notice a difference so is LeBron James won the championship his whole style got like even he became even more of a monster because with that monkey off his back it was there's nothing to lose now he's just playing with full confidence there's no pressure he's already a champion you know there's a big difference in playing with pressure and then playing with no pressure with nothing to lose then how did that free you up and what kind of maybe subjects or things did you tackle that maybe you felt more free to do I don't think it was a terms of subject my subject matter has always been like diverse I always talked about like a lot of different aspects of life personal and like things that relate to people but I think what change was like just I wasn't worried about they hit a section like a six month period where like everything became like because I was trying to get this single everything became like is this good enough like is this a hit snare drum is this a hit kick because you know I make the beats to from the beginning so is this a hit kick drum is this drum pattern hit worthy is this line catchy enough is this hook you know I mean that's a terrible way to make music like you shouldn't have you ever catch yourself as an artist thinking like that you have to catch yourself and stop because that's a dangerous way to like make any type of art so the subject matter wasn't what freed up it was it was my thoughts it was just trusting myself and doing whatever I wanted to do and say whatever I want to say and letting it all flow out it's kind of curious you say don't do that don't like try and see is this catchy enough but with the pressure and you talked about it like people hating and trying to see you fail the pressure to make those hits how do you prevent yourself I'm not saying oh do I have you know gonna be what's going to be played on hot 97 how do you avoid it well I wouldn't throw it so I'm I went through it and it made me stronger but I went through it hopefully so that other people I have to like I'm telling you right now like you don't have to do that you just trust yourself you know the mean and you'll naturally grow I don't know how you avoid it I mean I went through it out of necessity like I couldn't get a release date until I had a record that was connecting that radio so I had to go through it I don't know how you avoid it though I don't know now with this album did you feel because you had so much success they was there any temptation to work with a lot of more different artists and have a lot more features on this because I don't you don't necessarily have a whole bunch of features no I don't have a lot of features at all or the producers it's just how it happened I made this how I make music I start making a beat I start making some drums I add a sample I get excited like oh hopefully my rapper side kicks in like oh man I want to write to this I got something to say and I start writing and I lay down the ideas and maybe 30 minutes to an hour later maybe three hours later I have a song and that's how this album happened you know to me I didn't feel the need to go reach out you gotta understand I'm where I'm at in my career right now and I got a long way to go but I'm blessed to be right here I'm here and I never went to go see like Tim Allen boy when the hit boy whoever was making the hits whoever young chop whoever had was the hottest producer at the time and hip hop I never went to go see them I haven't gone to see them yet because I enjoy making music how I'm how I'm doing and it's gotten me this far now well I go yes maybe the next album is entirely me reaching out to other people but for this album it's just how it happened it wasn't on purpose it wasn't like I ain't gonna go see them it's just that's how I enjoy like making music that's my art but there is a side of me the rap side of me that does enjoy not having to work like as hard work my rap aside just sits around and waits for the producer side and finally make a beat that he likes rap silence I like man you whack Darla's it's like 10 beats now and I ain't got one so you know I do it I do look forward to that letting go some of that ownership and just coming to the studio hearing a beat and writing now do one of the songs it's for the big hits power trip obviously with Miguel tell me I had heard that originally you were a little bit kind of wanted to just do it yourself and maybe you weren't as enthusiastic I would've been a terrible idea that was a bad idea originally I was singing a part on power trip he goes you believed him and said I've been light and I thought it sounded good it did sound good I did it like in a real sleepy truck way like it's supposed to be like you know like like I guess love drunk or whatever so I was singing it real messed up but I actually considered like yeah Miguel was sound great doing it but I like how I sound I would be like I heard the version maybe about a month ago I would have been a terrible decision you know what I mean so that was a thought at first darker tone do you kind of or darker themes to the music do you see that it has a dark feel in the beginning of the album and it's not dark like Marilyn Manson dark or like nothing like that but just musically the mood of the music in the first half of the album is darker like from the intros and landing of snakes you know it's just a dark color but not like psychotic or like murderous anything but just like dark and even the subject matter is a little more like unapologetic like I got a song called trouble that's like another whole nother persona as a rapper it's like if I really wanted to I could be that rapper all the time and just take on this persona like the coolest dude who's also smart you know the meaning that's trouble and I'm saying like you know few reckless things more like a rapper song like but then you guys saw like runaway which is dark but I really like diving into a lot of themes of like relationships and sensation you know and things like that so yes it's dark I guess but not I don't want to give the wrong idea like it's depressing anything what kind of prevents you from just going once I said you could you could have been that rapper that says the reckless thing or whatever what kind of prevents you from just taking that one persona and running with because sometimes there's one right because I'm I wouldn't be being true to myself like that's only one part of my personality the reason why I can have a song like can't get enough and then have a song like lost one's a nice please is because those are all parts of my personality and like my life you know to me so if I was only one way like if I was only like making like if I was a trap rapper you would think trap rappers don't even like love their mom or like you know what I mean I like ever have friends are like real because are they talking about like is the trap which is fun but like what about you know there's other things that happen in life and there's other sides to you so I'm trying to give you all that that's what keeps me from becoming just that rapper because I'm also this guy too and sometimes I'm like that and you know it's just I have more range as a human so I'm gonna have more range as an artist as a human before everything you've gone through over the last couple years from the Grammys to you know what's the biggest change that you see in yourself and myself um just throughout my career like however changed personally I don't know I would like to think I'm still very close to like my original self you know what I mean I would like to think that yes my voice is going I was gonna do it exactly like she just did I couldn't do it I would like to think that I'm very close to him to be how I was and if there's a change and I don't you know me I don't notice it I'm not noticing well people in the audience yes first question there they go we have everybody got questions all right I wanted to know what inspired your your own picture of your album a picture which one there's that's the deluxe can I tell y'all the real story about the deluxe so and it worked out great everything happens for a reason I'm telling you I've truly believed in that but the original deluxe cover was his baby y'all seen y'all know like biggie ready to die cover so it was this little baby surrounded by like white but we like these clouds cuz you know the darker version of the album is like gates you could say like maybe the gates of hell there's like seven strikes on it so the deluxe was more like heaven in this little baby which is purely innocence you know that's what the representative innocence was like surrounded by these white clouds and he had a little crown above him you know my crown with the with the halo is really a halo with a crown above it but he also had these little horns coming out like just subtle subtle horns so I was like so the album's born sinner I'm like yo this covers perfect we're like two days from having a turn in the album the artwork for the album and it come to find out nobody cleared the baby with the parents nobody cleared this low light-skinned baby with them with his parents so everybody's looking around each other like oh man like we don't know and of course when I went time for clearance the parents was like nah man we can't do this like so we took the horns off kept the halo and I was just a baby in heaven and we like please but the album's called born sinner a parent wouldn't wanted like you know saying nobody wants to put so I was like yeah I won't even put the title on the album you know I mean it won't beat it they still wrote him a crazy nice letter I'm gonna let it right or when people don't like when people don't see things my way I'd like try to give him my perspective so I wrote this really nice letter and almost convinced him almost but they just couldn't do it at the end of day so we're literally about seven hours from having to turn in an album cover and we don't have a deluxe it just so happens you know the god I was doing my artwork for this whole album process Mario Hugo he was like yeah I was uh I was working on this thing but I was gonna use it for a single later I mean maybe you guys liked it he sent that to me I was like y'all you crate like yes when was this set before man you know me got like five hours left so that that's how this came to be and it's really way more iconic you know what I mean it like it really defines the album to me that figure cuz like he got these horns but he got the halo crown above him he doesn't look evil he's kind of smiling you know he's surrounded by white you know and you know don't be afraid there's nothing like satanic about that you know what I mean it's like it's not so that's how that came to be I got the exclusive iTunes please move on to the first thing you see on the iTunes page thank you whatever Jay what's up yeah I have to be about the album yeah all right cool so um basically I just I work around the block I just got fired no way you got like I met you a couple of times man and I'm an artist myself and I know you dish it all the time yeah that's cool what was going through your mind when everything was just falling apart and and you don't even know like what the but you don't even know what to do and basically everything was just falling apart he was trying to find a way like what was going through your mind did you ever think like damn what if this doesn't happen for me you know my mom never worked like that in the beginning we're like when I wasn't on I never had those thoughts but I can't relate to that only because they came a point after my first album was already out where I started like really getting down on myself like man like I really like I really just dropped the ball man like this didn't go how I wanted to go like I didn't come out how four saw myself coming out and I was really getting down on myself and it felt it really did feel way more and everybody else is looking me like crazy out of number one I'm gonna country you gotta go at grammy nominee and i'm not seeing or appreciate so what I can say is you have to look you have to stop looking at what you don't have and what's not having it for you and start appreciating like what you do actually have like my man you got on nice watch like your hat is fresh like you're in New York City is tool and an opportunity you know to me you could look at guy I'm sure you got maybe a girlfriend like there's a lot of thing your family there's a lot of things to be grateful for and that's the only way you can climb out of like a place of focusing on what you don't have is by focusing on like man what do I have to be thankful for everybody got something to be thankful for even though homeless man if he wanted to he could be like y'all or even today like you know what I mean like my arms work my legs work you can start very small and now that it's gonna it's a process but that's how you can get about like a negative space like that what were you expecting for your first element you were a little bit disappointed like I think people said you were crazy but like yeah I think I think I just had a career going a certain way in my mind and I didn't realize that I was already doing the things that I wanted to do like it was just in a different way so my whole life I was like oh man my first album could be like it's gonna be like illmatic it's gonna be crazy on my first day I was gonna be like this and like I'm a jock classics and and I wasn't I never took the time to stop and realize like yo you already are doing that like it's kids out there that the warm up to them they never gonna stop listening to that you know what I mean that's gonna be they're gonna play that for their kids they can be talking about that 10 20 years from the Friday Night Lights for them it's a you know to me and I didn't stop and realize it like yo you're already doing that so because I had a certain way that I wanted it to go you know that so that's what it was I wanted to know what was NAS reaction let nas down and who's your top five Rapids right now man time for a verse that's tough questions now it's nice yeah nas yeah nas reaction was crazy Louis story short I always say long story short but then as long I played letting out there three days out that made the song so long story I was in the airport three days after I made the song I never run in the NAS I'm in Houston Texas wrong places I had a show to do the next morning I'm in the airport it's 6:00 a.m. a flight from Houston to LA my man my homeboy asked me could he hear the song because I just made it and we are still buzzing about this song he hears this song I take my laptop back from him cuz I got aboard the plane as he's handing me my laptop he's like y'all was that nice he just was listening to the song I just made the song I only meant NAS one time before that it's not like I run into this guy we're in Houston Texas like so many things that the world is way too big for this to be happening so I knew it was a sign so I played now as a song as soon as I got on the plane his reaction was ridiculous it's one of the best moments like of my life it was a just a dope moment top five rappers I can't answer that ever ever right now I can't right now no no I'm not gonna do it cuz they're gonna make a hell ever pot big Eminem jay-z NAS what we talk about man what's up Jay Cole what's that Wang yeah where we a little so like you said earlier you put a lot of hard work into this album which shows which is evident basically and like you said we as the consumers don't see exactly like what goes on and like what you put into this album right what would you say is like the most difficult part was the fact that you guys forgot to get clearance of the little baby or was it the fact that you know the album leaked what was like the most difficult thing and sorry if it's a difficult question but no it's a great question I've never thought about what was the most difficult part about making that album for me the most difficult part about making an album is finishing really is why do you think people don't even recognize I could just three truly yours right now all about five songs apiece that's 15 songs I really just dropped two albums in the last three months you know to me so it's hard for me to make art like I saw like Kenny Lofton could clear beyond that album you know to me so it's hard for me to like pick four songs that I love like can i holla at you it's hard to like decide was album worthy it was not that's the most difficult part of me for making an album is like ciphered through all this music that I have and and picking and saying it's saying that this zone that I love is not gonna make the album that's hard and then finishing the songs I got a lot of rough drafts you know what I mean and they're like it's hard to turn those into finished products so that's a great question we got time for one more man please my name is Frank and I wanted to ask the question with like all the buzz going between users versus born sinner and all that buzz I wanted to know what's your opinion on them yeezus the album because like the general reception is that you came out big like with this album you know with Friday Night Lights and all your albums you always liked it came out good and right with ease is like people say it's not what they depicted what Kanye West will come out right well that's a great question I don't think my opinion of his album matters you know what I mean like it doesn't matter I actually don't like I'm starting to really not like the process of like people looking at other people for how to how to feel about music it's starting to really bother me like the look into a review for how I should feel or look into what somebody else witness says about an album for hospital and the sense of entitlement that what I say about an album is actually important you know what I mean I don't like that so I don't know you want to say I feel about Jesus because it doesn't matter but I will say that I'm a big Kanye West fan and I do respect him for always never settling I'm always trying to go left whether or not it connects and that doesn't even matter ladies and gentlemen Jake oily you

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