Associated Press recently spoke to J. Cole about his debut album, his Grammy nomination for Best New Artist, and what he has learned from Jay-Z.
J. Cole explains that his album came out just before Grammy nominations because he knew his album was that good,"My album came out days before the Grammy deadline, and it's because I knew I had a shot. I thought my album was that good ... (and it's) just an honor to be on that list. Nicki is on that list. To have two hip-hop artists on that list tells you, it says a lot about hip-hop right now. And even Skrillex, who is a DJ, I know it's more of an electronic style of music, but the art of DJing comes from hip-hop. So that's crazy to look at that list and see how much hip-hop (is there)."
He also shared some of the advice Jay-Z gave to him when he first started out, "Early in my album process he was like, "When you're first starting out, it's good to not know everything." He made the analogy that when you're first starting it's almost like you're trying to get across a room, but the room is pitch-black, and when you finally get to the other side of the room and you flick on the light, you look back and you realize there were snakes over here, there was a hole over there ... but because you were following your heart, you made the right decision."
Although J. Cole went to St. John's University for a degree in Communication, he says he can't imagine doing anything else than rap right now: "I was good in school, but I never one day imagined doing anything other than what I'm doing right now. I always knew, like, I never had a fallback plan. I was never like, "Oh, if this doesn't work out I'll just go get a job over there." Like, nah. Never. I couldn't. I can't even. Right now I cannot picture doing anything else."
Read the full interview here.