On the Sideline with J. Cole

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On the Sideline with J. Cole

Does fame in this game have to change who you are? J. Cole?s rise started with the success of 2009?s The Warm Up and transcended to the Nice Kicks realm through Celebrity Sneaker Stalker. It appeared a star was born. Like many though, Young Simba had some growing pains on the way. The come up was difficult as album push backs, crossover questions, even sneakerhead status, led many to doubt whether or not Cole would in fact ?blow up?. Despite the uncertainty of others, even his boss-to-be at one point, he never stopped believing in himself. ?Desire?, he says. “That?s the key word. When you really want something you don?t give up. You never really fail; everything is a stepping-stone and that?s what kept me going.? With the release of Cole World: The Sideline Story comes another stepping-stone and a chance to step out. We caught up with Cole on the Texas leg of his tour days before his debut.

J. Cole?s had the attention of the sneaker community from the start. A Penny 1 sighting on his Warm Up track list paired with a hoops pedigree made him an instant favorite among readers. All seem cemented until one slip caused a stir. After an infamous interview with Funk Flex, some in the sneaker community called out Cole for not knowing what was on his own feet. Rather than get spiteful he addressed the matter with wit on the MMG anthem ?Fitted Cap?. Brash on record but humble in person, he reiterates his appreciation for the culture and that he?s still coming up. ?Every time I do a video or photo shoot I get nervous about the shoes so I bring a couple. I don?t really have the connections yet where they send me everything. You know Wale got the stupid connects! I don?t really got that yet so I?m buying all my kicks.? He lists Flight Club as a favorite shop and seems to be catching on quick with Black/Metallic Silver Air Jordan 5s on his feet and the 2002 ?Raptor? Air Jordan 7s on his album cover. ?I got to the (cover) shoot and there wasn?t much clothes or kicks to deal with, luckily I brought a few pairs and I felt best in those.? The other pair on deck? ?The DMP 11s?.

J. Cole

Mr. Nice Watch may not have the sneaker connections yet, but he?s certainly clocking in his industry. Over the past year he?s ghostwritten a commercial hit (Diddy?s ?Coming Home?), produced on a critical smash (Kendrick Lamar?s Section.80), and played opener to Rihanna on her Loud Tour. Sure, the spotlight hasn?t shined directly on him, but he hasn?t been far from it. On ?HiiiPoWeR?, a song that appeared on Lamar?s Section.80 but could?ve easily been a hit on Cole?s album (or anyone else?s for that matter), Cole doesn?t come off as a poor editor but rather someone with a greater appreciation for the art. ?He killed that! He really made the beat what it was.? When asked if Kendrick owes him any favors for that assist he laughs it off as if he has crates of classics that he?s sitting on. He probably does too, as he?s spent the past two hours on his tour bus playing beats for Trae Tha Truth.

J. Cole

While his narratives may play better as reflection music than riding music, you?d never know it at his live shows. His stories come to life with an energy upgraded from record. Fans from every walk of life recite the tales as if they?re their own. And maybe they are. ?Some (stories) are personal, some are the people?, Cole says. ?I think it?s cool to not disclose everything, like ?oh that?s mine that?s somebody else?s.? He?s quick to recognize the importance of this aspect. ?What other new artist is telling these stories, talking about these things, on a major scale?? Few indeed, and far fewer on a major scale.

Some fans wondered just how major that scale could be. After DJ Semtex dubbed Sideline Story a mix between College Dropout and Illmatic, day one fans and newbies alike salivated over a release date. They?d have to wait. And wait. Pushbacks and unexpected (though acclaimed) mixtapes raised questions as to whether or not he was sitting on a classic and if the intended records would ever see the light of day. Would he be another example of a talented young artist pressured by a label to find a single? Would he have to give up his best records for free to build buzz all while deconstructing his own album? Yes and no. While some records have been getting polished for years, other standouts are brand new even by web standards. ?I?ve got a couple that are four years old, I?ve got a couple that are four weeks old. The Missy Elliot song is like four or five weeks old, the Jay-Z record is four or five weeks old, ?Lost Ones? is four years old?it?s a mixture.?

J. Cole

So after all this waiting time and hard work, what is it that J. Cole wants from his album? ?I want (fans) to feel like it?s something special. Six weeks after the album?s out, six months, and six years, I want them to be playing it. I just want it to be a timeless piece of work.? Success doesn?t end with him though. ?If I?m successful it can make it easier for a guy like Kendrick Lamar when it?s his time or younger rappers that are really saying something. That?s why I really wanna win, just for the game.? Humble beginnings to unselfish success, it turns out fame doesn?t have to change who you are.

Buy Cole World: The Sideline Story at iTunes

Thanks to Ibrahim and ScoreMore

About The Author

Ian Stonebrook lives in Austin, TX where he spends most of his time kicking it with friends and fam, hooping, golfing and going out.

100 Comments on "On the Sideline with J. Cole"

    • Whatever Man

      I swear, I scrolled down to read some of theses post’s and seriously, I can put money on , that most idiots writing , bullshit, on who’s better rapper, wiz this, wale that, big Sean bullshit!! I bet most of these idiots are 21years or even younger! On that note, on this guy Cole and even the rappers comparing to him. For people to even have the slightest thought that any of these guys are talented !!! U guys are ignorant or have no sense of what music really is! Rap, is rap, all the shit out now all sounds the same, the same bullshit niggaz been talking or rapping about for years, is the same shit being rapped about now but even cornier!!
      All the same beats, auto- tuned, shitty ass music!! None of these niggaz got no talent!and last of all , they have pay’d no dues, come out with one album and everyone wants to crown ‘em! Seriously when these niggaz got 3-4 albums that go platinum then say what u gotta say

      • Joshudson13

        Dude just shut the fuck up if you dont like rap dont read the article. You racist piece of shit. Nobody said anything about Wiz, or anybody else so dont bring that shit in here cuz most of us arent the hypebeasts that crown ppl like big sean and wiz.

      • Evan

        i could maybe understand what your talking about if this article if it were another rapper but j. cole is honestly one of the realest people in rap right now. He’s not even my favorite person yet i can recognize the huge amount of talent he has. From the way you’re talking about him i can tell you havent listened to enough of him because all the shit u said about him doesnt even make sense in relation to cole. Actually listen to some of his music and not just the few songs you may have heard by him on the radio

        • Exavon

          ok j.cole ppl say is one of the realest ppl in rap now i think different he raps about shit the sounds real but all we know he could be lieing to come on now in the rap game every rapper makes up stories cause sooner or later your goinn to run out of shit to say

          • Aljujuan13

            the reason they say he is real is because he talks about real life situations. It isn’t always about his life?

          • NishaJanell

            Um…. What he raps about isn’t all HIS story. Maybe a few of them, but not ALL of them. If you went on his Twitter you would know that “My story ain’t the only one I’m tryna tell.”

      • Sensehns

        boy looka here for every person sayin Cole sucks theres a thousand who appreacite his substance and talent…but fuck appreciation its quite obvious hes sick and i quote…”what you think cole aint hot? what? where you read that sh*t/ you believe that sh*t all cuz some lame nigga tweet that sh*t/ have you seen my shows, have you seen my hoes, if i wasnt hot would they be so thick? HUH!! guess not!!!”….so c’mon now if you aint buzzin or a star rap artist yourself you lame tweets/comments about him being wack are superrrrrr irrelavant TRUST ME your a lame for spending time tryna hate, if you think your any better i’d sure like to hear what chu got, better yet maybe not…it might just be hater music lmao COLE WORLD BABY!! platinum in several days lets do it!!!…

      • Exavon

        then i can say lil wayne because his albums do everythin u would want your album to do he has no problem selling copies nd in the rap game if u aint selling any copies then your trash

    • west

      we got to stop this internet beef shit come on people its just an opinion on what rapper people like it don’t matter what rapper is better than the other because it’s just an opinion everybody has one?like who you like and stop?posting all this bullshit…and please stop the hating shit makes sick

    • Christopher Murphy

      He’s apart of the younger extremely talented lyricaly beasty ass young rappers. Him, Wale, Big Sean,just to name a few are going to save hip-hop.

      • Anonymous

        Don’t hate on someone for supporting an artist. And ya that’s exactly what he’s doing, giving the man his money for his album since most people like you won’t.?

      • Lone

        6 weeks…..6 months…6 years…..clue?

        his album cover…..sittin on the cross…clue??

        do you remember young simba? smh he even says he’ll give his soul on his new album…..pay attention cause your ignorance is bliss

        • franchise3

          You’re stupid af, I hate ignorant people like you. Cole is a great artist. You say that he says “he’ll give you your soul”…NO that’s not what he meant. He’s reciting a prayer you dumb fuck. Quit trying to make assumptions. Just listen to good music, Cole speaks the truth. End of story.

          • Joshudson13

            I kno right. I see the cross but theres a ton of other things that could coincidently make a cross. Quit trippin on that shit. If youre lookin for sumthan, especially sumthan as easy to make as a cross, you’re gonna eventually find it. All it is is the shadow of the next part of the bench that he’s sittin on. No big deal.

        • FUKK ILLUMINATI BITCH. BITCHES AINT GON DO SHIT.IF I HAD MY OWN ARMY I`LL KILL EVERY FUKKIN ILLUMINATI MEMBER IN THE WORLD.DAMN DEVIL WORSHIPPING ASS FOOLS THINK EVERYONE SCARED I SHO AINT. DEM NIGGAS CAN KISS MY ASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS BITCHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

    • sneakgeek

      he a close friend of mine def not an freemason hes just another person who grew up in the ville and made it.

  1. DevinThomas

    Nah Ill stick with Wale Big Sean Kanye Jay Wiz Currenssy and shit J Cole don’t even know the kicks he rockin and as for music BORING

  2. Floresf

    You probably can’t comprehend what J. Cole is saying in his lyrics. It’s ok, some idiots aren’t meant to listen to great rap.?

  3. Dbwideout

    I’m not one to say anyone is illuminati because most time its a joke, but why would he say 6-6-6??? Thats just weird….

  4. xiahen

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  5. DopeMatic3002

    Classic?? No. But a cool cd. Definitely a solid debut. I actually wish I bought this and downloaded Big Sean instead of the other way around.

  6. MZA

    The album is ok; hardly classic. The only song that is truly a banger is the jawn with Trey Songz (Can’t Get Enough). ?J. Cole has a lot of work to do if he wants to compete with some of the other young emcees like Big KRIT, Dom Kennedy, Curren$y, Kendrick Lamar, The Cool Kids, Pac Div and so on who are constantly putting out new music. So far he has made a lot of declarations and promises that have not panned out.

    • Chipmunkaj

      J. Cole is the modern example of real hip-hop. As is K.R.I.T. Dom is losing it, and that hurts to say. And Curren$y is just a nigga livin’ his life. He doesn’t have much to say. Can’t Get Enough isn’t Cole’s best song on this album either.

  7. Anonymous

    J. Cole and Wale are pretty much the only two young rappers that have songs with any kind of substance.? It feels good to hear a guy put on for the state where your from and even though too many people are hatin…we know he can rap circles around 90% of the rappers talking that BS “diamonds and trap rap” !? COLE WORLD 910 STAND UP!!!

    • Anonymous

      XV, Big KRIT, Kendrick Lamar, Emilio Rojas, Fashawn, Rockie Fresh…just a couple more young emcees that have songs with substance.

  8. Jujube

    You dudes have nothing better to do but argue back and forth about people own individual opinions grow up all you fucks need to get jobs and stop maxing out your moms and pops credit cards to buy kicks

  9. J.Cole’s album was stretched too long and the addition of songs that have a few years of mileage (Lights Please, In the Morning, Who Dat) wasn’t needed.

    It’s okay, from first listen. I’ll go back over it again later. I also picked up Phonte’s “Charity Starts at Home,” and 9th Wonder’s “The Wonder Years.” I was actually anticipating those more than Cole’s.

    Shoutouts to NC! We aren’t “up next,” we’ve BEEN HERE! Respect it!

  10. Hel YEE Niq qass!!!!!!

    Finally It Happened…..I got rid of all my ISHHH
    from my cre dit report y’all – I was in deep for 5 years.? Coudn’t buy
    sheeet.? Just approved for that 25k loan to buy a new CAMAARO!!!

    IF YOU GOT PROBLEMS WITH WITH THAT CREDIT REPORTING ISH, GET RID OF DAT MF. Call these people at? 877-647-1477 and GET URS TOO . THEY DO A FAST AND AMAZING JOB AND THEY ARE CHEAP AS HELL.? I just sat and waited and all my garbage got fixed in no time.?

    My homeboy was in terrible
    shape too, and he clean!? Hit em up – they will help!!!!!!?

  11. ANNIE456

    FUNNY HOW PEOPLE CLAIM RAPPERS LIKE A GANG. FINALLY FAMOUS, TAYLOR GANG,COLE WORLD….. A LOTTA RAPPERS ARE HOT RIGHT NOW, MAYBE ALL THE ONES MENTIONED. TO COMPARE CURRENSY TO J COLE? TWO DIFFERENT STYLES, ONE IS NOT BETTER THAN THE OTHER. YOU DONT GANGBANG RAPPERS, YOUR JUST SUPPORTN THEIR MUSIC. CLAIMIN BIG SEAN AND WIZ ARE THE BEST RAPPERS OUT, IS JUST SHOWING HOW MUCH THEIR DICK IS IN YOUR EARS AND YOU CANT HEAR ANY OTHER MUSIC

    • This comment doesn’t make sense, especially from back when people argued day and night about who was better between Pac & Biggie, Jay-Z & Nas, and whoever else!

      It’s also no different than arguing sports franchises and “claiming” your “fanhood” when mentioning your Bulls, Lakers, Yankees, Tarheels, Blue Devils, Cowboys, etc.

  12. YUUP32

    CLAIMIN BIG SEAN AND WIZ ARE THE BEST RAPPERS OUT, IS JUST SHOWING HOW
    MUCH THEIR DICK IS IN YOUR EARS AND YOU CANT HEAR ANY OTHER MUSIC

  13. FUKK ALL U BITCH ASS?HATIN ASS DICK RIDING ASS NIGGAS.?J.COLE GOT THE BEST ALBUMS TO COME OUT EVER. I SWEAR EVERYONE ONE THIS PAGE IS HATIN?AND DICK RIDING CUZ YOU NIGGAS DONT HAVE NO JOB OR NO ONE NONE LIKES?YOU SO SHUT YO MOTHAFUKKIN ASS UP.GETTIN TIRED OF ALL OF YOU HATIN ASS NIGGAS DATS ALL YOU NIGGAS DO IS HATE ON SOMEBODY BECAUSE U NIGGAS AINT GOT SHIT SHUT YO??FUKKIN LAME ASS RETARTED ASS UP. DAMN MAYBE IF U HATIN ASS NIGGAS GET SOME FRIENDS DAT RAP MAYBE U CAN BE FAMOUS AND STOP HATIN ON NIGGAZ.

  14. Traylor_22

    here is my order on albums this year: 1. sideline story 2. Watch the throne. 20 Carter 4 …lol j. cole= real music man

  15. Da Man

    Why do people talk about Wale shoe game so much? All that motherfucker wear is Foamposites and they ugly as hell to me. Never liked em.

  16. this article was about J. Cole’s progression as an artist and his increase in style yet you people found a way to drift away and argue about Wiz, Big Sean, and Curren$y smh just chill out and let J. Cole enjoy his success right now

  17. Cirilo Q

    Ppl blowing things out . There are different styles in the rap game. Cole def has a mixture of the styles. But mostly (in my opinion!) Lyrical. Wiz used to be my favorite rappers for a long time, but (in my opinion!) Rolling papers was a severe let down. His old mixtape stuff was what got me hooked. Then i seen the progression from lyrical to everything weed. Don’t get me wrong though, a lot of those were bangers. But it got old. J.Cole and XV (in my opinion!) Haven’t really changed when it comes down to it. (in a good way) that’s why I say (in my opinion!) That they both are great rappers! Just give props when they are due, instead of trying to put them down. At least appreciate the different styles. (in my opinion!) Waka, soulja boy, Gucci, and all those lyricless rappers are garbage, I can still appreciate that they still sell.

  18. Chantellyinfante

    This is for all the fans that waited…the bitch niggas that hated!!!!….classic album from a hard working man!!! I’ve followed him since day one and this man just gets better and better…coleeeee worldddd… Ya gonna be swallowing ya words when he’s mastered the gameee

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