Another Complex cover is revealed, featuring J. Cole.
We've already seen two new covers from Complex magazine for their December/January issue, but they're not capping it off there. They've got yet another cover star this month, recruiting J. Cole to appear on the third magazine cover.
For Cole's cover, Complex heads to his home in Fayatteville, North Carolina, where he recently purchased his childhood home, and named his third studio album after it- 2014 Forest Hills Drive.
During the interview, Cole talks about being a business man (or, not being a business man), anxiety, being called "boring" and more. Peep a few excerpts below, and check out the full cover story here.
While Complex was visiting, J. Cole gave them a tour of his childhood home, watch that video down below.
Coming from that [Fayetteville], how does it feel that big companies are looking to work with you now?
It’s flattering that they would take notice, but it is fucking weird. I didn’t grow up wearing that shit and [fashion] is still a new thing for me. Years ago, we had conversations as a team, like, “Are we going to start a clothing label? Do we want to turn it into some exclusive shit and charge niggas this, that, and third?” That never felt right. I always liked accessibility. I loved the fact that I could attain Sean John, I could attain Rocawear, I could afford a $25 T-shirt. It might take my whole check to get those pieces but it was attainable. That was a struggle when we were considering a line: Do you want to separate yourself from who you are and the people who are where you just were?
Do you want to be a great businessman?
I want to be a great artist first, and as good of a businessman as I can be without taking away from my art form. I’ve been through worrying about a hit and it forcing me to make [a certain] type of song because I got all this pressure. Business is only satisfying in the security of it and the fact that the better I am at business, the better I am at providing for my family. Business moves don’t bring me happiness. The things the business moves provide bring me happiness. Seeing Cozz about to drop his first project and remembering what that was like. Seeing Bas go on tour….
This album feels like a turning point for you.
That’s exactly what it is. It’s crazy that I chose to record it in Hollywood because it’s such a “fuck Hollywood” album. Being out there maybe contributed to [me thinking], “I’m bugging. There’s some shit that’s way more important than how many albums I sell and if I’m the best.”
What led to that realization?
I was unhappy when amazing things were happening, [career successes] that I should have been grateful for and super happy for. I didn’t feel I was getting the type of recognition I always wanted and that I felt you had to get to be considered at a certain level. Last year, I started to realize that means nothing. It’s all unattainable. You have no control over what somebody else feels about you, but you have 100 percent control over how you feel about yourself and how you feel about the people around you and how you handle life. I became happier and started to deal with shit more, not run from the feelings, not have the anxiety, like, “Complex ain’t fucking with me? Man, fuck these niggas. They missed the whole shit. They didn’t even tell niggas about The Warm Up and Friday Night Lights. They’re going to sleep on Born Sinner. Y’all didn’t see I sold more than Kanye?!”
That’s interesting because you, unlike a lot of your peers, don’t talk about the hate and the jokes about you being boring. It seems like it rolls off your back.
I’m an introverted person, especially with problems. I feel like I can deal with shit on my own and I don’t need to express it. I put up a great front because I don’t want to show [that something bothers me], which is why I respect Wale. I’ve always loved that he says it and he says it right away, like, “Yo, I don’t feel this. Them niggas ain’t showing me no respect.” In a way, that’s therapeutic. To keep it in and suppress it makes it worse. That kind of expressiveness is not prevalent in my music, but you’ll find lines. That shit affected me so much that I had to write a line about it. I can tell you five or six lines where it was addressed. That’s the danger of giving a fuck about what people say in an age where you can see what people say so easily. It’s about getting over that, like, “Man, I don’t give a fuck. I love me. I love this shit I just made. If you like it, fucking great. It you don’t like it, cool. I hope you find some other shit you like.” On my best day that’s how I feel.
When you made “Power Trip,” did you feel you had to make a hit song?
Hell no. See, that’s the thing about Born Sinner: I stripped that [pressure] away because I had been through that on the first album, with “Work Out.”
“Work Out” was you saying, “Yo, I need a hit.”
Yes, and I said, “I’m never going through that again.” And I never will. Born Sinner was the next phase of that, like, “Nigga, don’t ever try to get the hit. It’s never going to work like that.” With “Power Trip,” I just went downstairs to make a beat because I was bored and that shit flowed out. I didn’t even think it was going to be for the album; I thought I had my album already. I was just going to drop it the next day! Like, “I been quiet. I just want to throw some shit out.” I went to Elite’s house to work on “Crooked Smile” and I played it for him and and Ib [A&R Ibrahim Hamad], like, “I just did this at the crib. What do you think?” In my heart, I knew the shit was special and big but I wasn’t confident enough to say, “Nigga, I got a crazy one.” Ib said the words I’d hoped to hear: “This is the one.” I needed that boost of confidence because I was in a creative place but I wasn’t in the most confident place.