J Cole wasn't the same artist that he is now.
Jim Jones, the legendary Harlem rapper and member of Dipset, has recently released his seventh studio album, Wasted Talent, and is currently undergoing a promotion tour for the album (including an interview where he explains the concepts behind his album). However, one appearance he made on the A Waste of Time podcast revealed an interestic factoid about another big rapper who has an album coming out: J. Cole.
As it turns out, Jones had the opportunity to sign J. Cole way back in the day, but neglected to do so. While it's possible that he might be kicking himself now that J. Cole has become a rap megastar, he had his reasons at the time, and they're pretty valid.
When one of the hosts asks Jones about when J. Cole's team approached him, he responds with, "J. Cole didn't have a team when he came to me. He didn't have a team, it was just J. Cole rapping."
He then goes on to explain that the J. Cole he saw before him was vastly different than the J. Cole the world has come to know and love.
"Light skin kid coming to the studio every day rapping like Drake, and at that point, it was Drake, niggas didn't know what to do with no Drake. Drake was just a phenomenon at that point. You can't have two of them right now," said Jones. "As you see, it took him a few years after that to kind of find his place and what he wanted to do. He ain't rapping like Drake no more but when he was in my studio he was."
You can check out the whole interview at the link below, or skip to 1:04:00 to hear Jones talk about J Cole.