J. Cole Tells Lil Yachty About The State Of Hip-Hop Today & Weight Of First-Week Sales

The "Secret Recipe." duo seem to accept hip-hop's current state, and believe that they're at the "doorstep" of a new golden era.

BYGabriel Bras Nevares
J Cole Lil Yachty Rap Current State First Week Sales Hip Hop News

J. Cole and Lil Yachty had a great time together on the latter's A Safe Place podcast, and had a lot of interesting discussions and debates. Two of these speak to the current state of hip-hop, and how the two different but kindred spirits view their place in it all and where it's headed. Moreover, one of these is the purely artistic expression in the genre, and how industry dynamics and the culture are shifting. Another relates to rap's commercial dominance, particularly in first-week sales. They had a lot to say as two leaders in styles that, although different, can always co-exist. "Do you think rap was in a better space when it was more gangster rap, or is it in a healthier place now with hyperpop and 'mumble rap' being so prevalent?" Lil Yachty asked J. Cole.

"What's you honest opinion on the new generation? What's missing?" he asked. "I can't say it was in a better space because that's my favorite," J. Cole replied. "Bro, I'm a person that I try my best to accept- like you said earlier- accept it for what it is. My favorite era is what I grew up on. I can't put nothing past how I feel and how I felt outside of my own... you know what I mean? I try to push myself to that, but bro, I'm grown, I was listening to that when I was a kid. Now it's new kids that got their new favorites. I wouldn't feel comfortable being like, 'Hell yeah, that s**t was in a better space!' Because I don't feel negatively about this space. I feel like this space is clearing the way for the next space, and the next space.

Read More: J. Cole Claims He Doesn’t Charge For Guest Verses

Lil Yachty Inquires About Hip-Hop's Current Form: Watch

"Do I feel like we in a golden era right now?" J. Cole continued. "No. I can say that, this is not no golden era, you know what I mean? But I feel like that'll turn really soon because of that. There's golden eras, bro. That Future 'March Madness' era, that's a golden era. What was happening with music at that time, him included, Drake at that time, what I was contributing, Kendrick, like, that's a golden era. Now, guess what? I feel like, culturally, we are at the doorstep of another golden era." "How do you feel about first week numbers?" Lil Yachty asked. "They change," Cole answered. "It's not black and white like it used to be. When there were gatekeepers and labels, and that barrier of entry was what it was, it was clear to see what was a success and what was a flop.

J. Cole On First-Week Sales Numbers: Watch

"At that time, bro, [Canibus' first] album was considered a flop," he concluded. "Maybe a hundred, maybe two hundred, but he didn't do twenty, you know what I mean? He did hundreds, and he was a flop. And these sales [now] ain't even based on the amount of people, they based on streams. Like, goddamn, that's hard! I feel like you can do 10 today, 15, 20, and it's not a flop. I don't feel like that applies to today. Of course, you would know better than me, because you're more in it. I think it's just a way to either praise who you like or to s**t on who you don't like. But if you my favorite artist and you did 4,000 in your first week, you think I'm going to be like, 'Man'?" For more on J. Cole and Lil Yachty, stay posted on HNHH.

Read More: Lil Yachty Divulges On Potential Drake Collab Album

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About The Author
Gabriel Bras Nevares is a music and pop culture news writer for HotNewHipHop. He started in 2022 as a weekend writer and, since joining the team full-time, has developed a strong knowledge in hip-hop news and releases. Whether it’s regular coverage or occasional interviews and album reviews, he continues to search for the most relevant news for his audience and find the best new releases in the genre. What excites him the most is finding pop culture stories of interest, as well as a deeper passion for the art form of hip-hop and its contemporary output. Specifically, Gabriel enjoys the fringes of rap music: the experimental, boundary-pushing, and raw alternatives to the mainstream sound. As a proud native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, he also stays up-to-date with the archipelago’s local scene and its biggest musical exponents in reggaetón, salsa, indie, and beyond. Before working at HotNewHipHop, Gabriel produced multiple short documentaries, artist interviews, venue spotlights, and audio podcasts on a variety of genres and musical figures. Hardcore punk and Go-go music defined much of his coverage during his time at the George Washington University in D.C. His favorite hip-hop artists working today are Tyler, The Creator, Boldy James, JPEGMAFIA, and Earl Sweatshirt.