September 27, 2018

J. Cole Addresses Domestic Abuse, Politics, & His Legacy In Rare Interview

J. Cole Addresses Domestic Abuse, Politics, & His Legacy In Rare Interview
(Photo Credit: Suzi Pratt/Getty Images)

J. Cole sat down for a rare interview with Billboard where he discusses his thoughts on the election, conversations with XXXTentation before his untimely death, KOD and more.

During the conversation, he discussed his thoughts on voting, and politics altogether.

“Trust me,” he said. “I hate to be a person who’s even promoting that I didn’t vote. Actually, with Trump in office, I love that America gets to see the truth. If Hillary Clinton was in office, it would be the most f***ing disingenuous s** because everybody would be thinking that everything’s cool because we got an incredibly qualified female president. Which would’ve been amazing on so many levels. But all the shit we see right now would’ve still existed; it would’ve just been quiet. And I prefer this shit to be out loud. I prefer an honest America. I prefer the world seeing that, yes, we’re a country that is dumb enough — no disrespect — [that&#93 we got duped into electing Donald Trump.”

He also spoke about his last conversations with XXXTentation.

“I spoke to him on FaceTime one day in February for, like, three hours. His management reached out to Ib and asked if he could FaceTime me or call me. It was a super-intense conversation. He left a mark on me, just as a person.

“He started off the conversation literally on some, like — he didn’t even say hello. He started off basically saying, “I’m not on your level yet.” He was talking about spiritually and mentally, and that was intense because I was like, “Huh? I’m not on no level.” He was praising me while also saying he was going to achieve whatever it is he felt that I had. I’ve dealt with mentally ill people in my life before, many of them. And right away, I notice that this kid is super passionate and smart, but I could also see that he was so deep in his mind.

When I found out [about the abuse allegations against him], my first response was, “Man, I hope maybe one day I’ll get a chance to talk to this kid and figure out if there’s any place that I can help.” Because anybody who would do the shit that he did… Hurt people hurt people. I’ve walked through prisons and talked to these dudes who got life. They took someone’s life at 16 or 17 years old. You haven’t had the chance to process your trauma at that age. I’ma be sympathetic to a kid who has clearly been through so much fucked-up shit that he inflicted this on someone else.”

He also addressed allegations of abuse against Nas by Kelis.

“Yeah, that hurt. I ain’t going to lie. That hurts. [Pauses.] It feels weird because I fuck with Nas, but I just have to be honest. I came up seeing too much fucked-up shit for that to be acceptable. I don’t care who it is. I don’t f*** with people abusing women, and I don’t fuck with people not taking care of their kids.”

As for his legacy, he doesn’t want to bare the responsibility of being called the Harry Belafonte of Rap.

“No, because there’s a long history of activism and standing for something, and I haven’t done enough. I’m too selfish for that, and one day, I hope that I’m not. Right now, it’s about me, family and the music or any creative pursuits that I do. That’s selfish. I hope I do more for the community. People give me props now, but the truth is, I live my life very selfishly. The little shit I did today, that’s nothing. Harry Belafonte put his money where his mouth was and in the streets. I haven’t reached that point yet.”

Read the full interview here.