When J. Cole sees other rappers doing interviews, he says he can see something about their level of happiness simply by analyzing their mannerisms and their words.
“I look at these artists,” he explains during an interview with Blurred Culture. “I look at them and I’m like, ‘Bruh, you’re not happy. I can tell. When I speak to you, when I see your interviews, I know that you’re not happy.’ I know that, in order to get to this level, you gotta sacrifice your relationships with your parent, with your girl, with your friends. Things change. I’ma get there, but I’m not willing to get there without this level of happiness.”
Cole says he was able to realize this regarding happiness after reflecting on his career thus far.
“I’m taking a step back from what it took to get me here,” he adds. “I’m saying, ‘Let me readjust and analyze what’s important to me. Is it this shit out in Hollywood or is it what I’ve got back home? Being a better son to my mother, because who knows how much time we’ve got left. Being a better brother to my brother. Being a better boyfriend to my girl. Being a better friend to my friends. What’s more important?”
The rapper discusses these musings on 2014 Forest Hills Drive, his latest album. On the intro, he sings, “Do you want to be happy? Do you want to be free?” Watch the rest of Cole’s interview regarding happiness below.