Roc Nation’s J. Cole is known for opening up and baring his soul through his music. With his second album “Born Sinner” inching near its June 18th release date, Cole put on an intimate concert for iHeartRadio Live last night in New York City. Although he spent most of the hour-long set running through a mix of hits and cuts off the upcoming project, he did take time to talk to the crowd about the inspiration behind some of his biggest hits, lessons he’s learned since blowing up, and his excitement about “Born Sinner.”
Despite J. Cole being open and honest in his music, we discovered there were still some things we didn’t know about the North Carolina native. Check out the five things we learned about J. Cole from his iHeartRadio live show.
1. He regrets not reveling in his early success more.
J. Cole has been producing hot music for some years now. His first couple of mixtapes created a nationwide buzz for him, but his breakthrough came in 2010 when he dropped the stellar mixtape “Friday Night Lights.” While fans couldn’t stop talking about it, Cole was focused on the challenges he was facing in creating his debut album. He couldn’t find a single and his release date got pushed back so many times it looked like he was going to get the “Detox” treatment. So instead of enjoying that little taste of success, he was stressing about the future.
2. Releasing an album the same day as Kanye West doesn’t phase him.
Listen to one song by Fayetteville’s hometown star and you know this guy loves competition. So being as competitive as J. Cole is, it makes perfect sense for him to drop his album on the same day as one of the world’s biggest entertainers–Kanye West. Cole acknowledged the competition with a humorous quip, “Buy one Kanye West album and two J. Cole albums on June 18th!” Looks like Cole’s mentality is support hip-hop, but make sure I end up number one on the charts. That’s so hip-hop.
3. J.Cole and his band are friends outside of work.
During the show one thing was evident–J. Cole likes the people he works with and they like him too. You can always tell a group who’s been performing together for a while because of the looseness onstage, as well as the conversations they’re having while performing. Despite not being able to hear the exact exchange, the audience knew the guys were up there cracking jokes like they were rehearsing in somebody’s parent’s garage. During their performance of the hit “In the Morning” the band stopped playing as Cole continued to spit acapella. Instead of just standing there, the band performed some corny dance moves that made everyone double over in laughter, including J. Cole.
4. Tries to make music that takes people a little bit longer to understand.
In a moment of vulnerability, Jermaine Cole admitted that the initial response to “Work Out” hurt him. He created that song when he was struggling to find a single for “Sideline Story” and he felt it was a great song because he had been “making garbage” during those recording sessions (his words). But he realized his music may take a while for people to fully get because now “Work Out” is a platinum single. Also, when discussing his new single “Crooked Smile,” the rapper/producer said people told him he was crazy for dropping an album on the same day as Kanye West and that they all changed their minds when they heard the TLC-assisted track.
5. J. Cole doesn’t have the best self censor.
Due to the fact the concert was live streamed on iHeartRadio’s site, they asked J. Cole to keep the language clean (did they not realize the language rappers use?). However, as much as he tried, he couldn’t censor himself all of the way. Instead of not rapping the curse words, Cole got creative and moved the mic towards the crowd to fill it in for him. Hey, they asked him not to be vulgar, not the small audience in the theater. However, at times, Cole just let the four-letter words fly. Nobody seemed to mind because he performed with so much fervor, it was easy to get lost in the song and performance.
Make sure you pick up J. Cole’s “Born Sinner” when it drops on June 18th.
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