i'm a rapper / producer, my second album born sinner was released this week. i'm just ready to go, so let's go for it.


thank you - i just want to say that the experience is dope as hell, i come from the internet day and age, so it's possible for me and natural to answer like this. it was easy and really cool. thank you for coming by, i will absolutely be back for the next album.

Comments: 3666 • Responses: 52  • Date: 

zigzagzig634 karma

What is one musician you love that most people would not expect you to listen to?

j_cole1328 karma

Eric Clapton.

drdickweasel318 karma

please sample tears in heaven sometime, if you ever (unfortunately) have to write a song about losing a child.

j_cole854 karma

my favorite song. sad shit man. beautiful music

sperdoj623 karma


j_cole1896 karma

this is not me. this is a dinosaur.

daisyage556 karma

One thing that I think everyone here wants to ask: Can you tell us anything new about your upcoming album with Kendrick Lamar? I really love Born Sinner by the way, can't wait to see where you go next, but I want to emphasize how good what you're doing right now is. And thanks for doing this AMA!

j_cole875 karma

Thank you. This question will be asked a lot so I'll just answer it here. We have some really good songs in the stash, but haven't had a chance to properly work on a project. An album will come in the future, but probably not this year. I'm just happy for my niggaaa

dhaft88515 karma


j_cole778 karma


ZhouzTe499 karma

Hearing that you're a big Outkast fan i'll ask you this; ATLiens or Aquemini?

j_cole931 karma

DAMN. That's tough. But Aquemini.

YetiDick374 karma

How did it feel when you heard Nas on Let Nas Down Remix?

j_cole762 karma

Surreal. Today is my first day off in a LONG TIME (other than this. but this isn't WORK) I plan on soaking in that moment tonight and really reflecting on how amazing that is.

Iotatl346 karma

Can you speak on your favorite track on Born Sinner?

Can you speak on your production process you took on Born Sinner?

j_cole721 karma

First answer! Favorite song is too hard to decide. But I will say Runaway is definitely in the running. The verses!

Production process is an easier question to answer for me. I just let it FLOW. Normally I start out by finding drum sounds and patterns that make me move. for instance, Runaway started by flipping a real dirty drum loop, then adding a harder kick on top. Once i get drums that Move me and excite me, I look to add music (samples or something i'm playing) that make the marriage complete.

Born sinner plays with a lot of Double time tempo's. Shit like power trip, that moves your head as if it's fast paced. but in reality, its technically a SLOW beat. The breakdown on LAnd of the Snakes another example. Or rich niggaz.

thanks for the question

cssher248 karma

Yeah you really zoned in on that tempo. Perhaps my favorite example is "She Knows", thats a sick damn beat. What was the production process like for that one, did you start with piano hits or add them in after setting up the beat? Cause the beat drop plays with timing a bit and its so friggin dope.

j_cole423 karma

AHHH WAY BETTER EXAMPLE. exactly what i was talking about.

j_cole360 karma

I had those drums for MONTHS. Made like 3 beats to those same drums, none of them did the drums justice. then i was playing this cults song in my hotel room and thought "nawwwww. this might fit perfect over those!" then magic

nia44345 karma

My name is saniyyah and i am a big fan of your music. back in 09 around the time you got signed my uncle had told me about you and is the reason i am a fan today. i just wanted to ask if you if you remebered him his name is Adam Smith and claimed that you guys grew up together lol.

j_cole654 karma

yes. that's my homeboy from Fayetteville. great guy.

Iotatl329 karma

Have you received any feedback (positive/negative) about your “Faggot” bars on Villuminati?

j_cole720 karma

yes. i'm a communications major, studied PR. I knew what I was getting into. The comment I gave to Huffington Post was genuine and the reason why I wrote those bars. The line even makes me uncomfortable, but it's worth it for the sake of the conversation.

trainsaw270 karma

What internet sites do you frequent, non-music related?

j_cole1480 karma

can i be honest? without getting killed off by Reddit community. I go to Digg a lot. I know Reddit ethered Digg a while ago, because of the amazing COMMUNITY experience of reddit. But I still rock with them.

don't taze me bro

NotSalt246 karma

What did you have for lunch today?

j_cole460 karma

haven't eaten yet today. you just reminded me that i need to eat.

moar_throat_yogurt231 karma

What's good Cole, big fan here been following you since 09 back when I was on that student loan grind myself. Glad to see where you are now and it amazes me how some people think you just came out of no where. "They never see the grind, the blood sweat and tears, the only see the flourish". An answer for any one of these questions would be dope. Thanks

1) It doesn't look like your mom will have to go back to the Post Office after all homie. Congratulations. Your story inspires all of us who are grinding to get moms out the rat race. You've mentioned a couple times that although you knew you had to go to college because she instilled that in you, you always knew music was your number one goal. Did she know that your heart was set on rapping the whole time?

2) It seems you're exceptionally good at putting yourself in a female's shoes and painting a picture from her perspective(ie; Lost Ones, Lights Please, Crooked Smile and others). What's that process like for you? I take you to be sort of introverted and very observant. How are you able to "see" experiences from another's point of view so vividly?

3) Your story and your hustle resonates with a lot of us because it's the story of the grind...the fighting to get to a place that you feel you deserve. Never settling. A reoccuring theme on Born Sinner is that success isn't always what it's cracked up to be or at least not what you personally expected. What are some things about the rap game or fame in general you realize now, that you didn't while you were on trying to come up?

4) I still play Friday Night Lights heavy. It's a classic, could've easily been a full LP. I mean 2Face, See World, Before I'm gone..fuck..the whole fucking mixtape is crack. What made you put so much gems on a mixtape and not a full length album? I remember reading somewhere that you had too many songs for Cole World, but I don't know how true that is.

Lastly I just want to say thank you. Thank you for the music, the stories, the inspiration. Wish you all the best.

Edit: Spelling

j_cole914 karma

great questions.

  1. I'm sure my Mom wanted me to go be a lawyer and do something "safe." Just the fact that I went to college was already making her so proud. She knew I was heavy into music, but I don't think she knew how serious I took it until college graduation was coming up and she would hit me with the "soooo honey, what are you gonna do now?" questions. And when I hit her with the super confident "I'm about to go and get signed" answers. She never told me NOT to, but she definitely tried to encourage me to take the safer path. "you sure you don't want to go law school? you would be a great lawyer" NAW MOMMA YOU ALREADY TOLD ME I CAN DO ANYTHING

Mvisbisky216 karma

just wanted to say thanks for all the memories over the years. being part of the movement since day 1 has been incredible. see you in toronto next week.

leslie and mark from cole summer ep. 1

j_cole312 karma

:) yall are the shit. hope i get to see you

andrepayup214 karma

What did your homie who was disappointed your first Dead Presidents freestyle think of the second one?

j_cole637 karma

he was silenced forever. wasn't my homie, knew him through somebody else. but he's on Mute now

rottenbananapeel188 karma

First of all, congrats on the sales, 305k is a great number.

Born Sinner was the first project of yours that I've heard in its entirety and I really enjoyed it. It really got me hype for your upcoming project with Kendrick.

I though hard about what I'm gonna ask you, after all, I only get one chance.

What do you think about Waka and Gucci beefing? I really want a Ferrari Boyz 2 :/

j_cole686 karma

Thank you. But don't listen to projections. No guarantee that I reach that #. Either way I'm grateful.

Thanks for listening to Born Sinner.

About Waka and Gucci beefing. I remember one time when there was a rumor about them beefing for real, and Waka had said something about Gucci. The next day I was in Atlanta and went to the club, they were both there and kicking it like there was no problem. (Gucci had the meannn yellow Lambo outside)

I say all that to say, to me it seems like they're really just Family and you know family fights sometimes but it's not REAL beef. BUT WHAT DO I KNOW, i'm just light skinned

TrapLord28174 karma

What made you want to work with James Fauntleroy? He is incredible.

j_cole960 karma

This is weird. You asked me a question. And then answered your own question.

kfergthegreat151 karma

Is there a story behind you showing up at the Roots/Chappele concert? Also now that you are where you are why hasn't there been a J.Cole/Roots colab?

j_cole542 karma


Sophomore year of college. Long story short (aka this is gonna be long) I heard about this secret Dave Chapelle concert, you had to register and sign up online to go. The Roots, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Mos Def, Kweli, Kanye, Dead Prez.

They sent me confirmation back and it was on. Took my homeboy and roomate with me. BUT. Woke up that morning at 6 am to leave, and it was POURING. Some Hurricane level shit. We looked at each other like, "damn dawg, we really gonna do this?"

Said fuck it and got dressed. Had to walk to the bus stop in the rain, then wait on the bus in the rain. Now we're Soaked. Hopped off the bus, hopped on the train. Took the train to the bottom of Manhattan to the secret "Meet Up" point. Some random Grocery store by the Water.

We were the first ones there. People showed up over the next couple of hours. Then finally, they put us all on these yellow school buses to take us to the real secret concert location. A random block in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn.

Best show I ever been to in my life. Fugees reunited on stage, Lauryn Hill was incredible. Plus the line up was crazy. I was just a fan of this shit. still am

Then you could see me on the movie, everybody was hitting me from back home like "YOOO HOW THE FUCK YOU GET IN THIS MOVIE?? I'M IN THE THEATRE NOW I SWEAR I JUST SEEN YOU"

too long? whoops

Tbauschek150 karma

Are you a Duke fan or a UNC fan?

j_cole657 karma

this is NOT A QUESTION. Carolina til i die

Retrospectz144 karma

J.Cole first off I loved Born Sinner! My question is why did you create the website stream for the album before it even came out?

j_cole601 karma

so fans didn't feel so bad for listening early

tomosborne123 karma

Followed you since your second mix tape, drove over 5+ hours twice to see you perform. Just wanted to say thank you for the work you put in to making hip hop better.

j_cole193 karma

thank you

mynameisntwill111 karma

Why Did you try and compete with Kanye on the 18th? Wouldn't it make more sense to have your album release on a day with less competition?

j_cole316 karma

Just followed my instincts. I was confident in the album I had. Didn't know what he had, but didn't care. Wanted to start the conversation. I've had a #1 album before. It's cool. But I wouldn't have been able to live with myself wondering "what if I would have moved my date?"

mattwrobel108 karma

What gave you the idea to do your dollar tour?

j_cole199 karma

jay brown. greatest tour ever

StaffSgtDignam105 karma

If there was one thing you could've done differently music-wise, what would it have been?

j_cole553 karma

sell Friday night lights

FreshTheDon104 karma

did you have a fan base before you you got signed?

j_cole397 karma

yes. i called them friends.

that was it really. few hundred people had heard The Come Up, and School Daze was popping on my myspace page. No buzz though. Just skeelz

The_Spaceman103 karma

Thanks so much for doing this J. Cole!! I love how you're always representing Fayetteville when most people here could care less about the place and would never rep the 'ville like you have. I've noticed that Fayetteville has a new sense of pride in itself since you've made it big. What are your thoughts on that? Thanks!!

j_cole189 karma

I love that. That was the goal and the aim.

You're right, Fayetteville was a place that was definitely down on itself in the past. I was one of those people. It took me moving to NYC to finally understand my real love and appreciation for the city. For the PEOPLE.

I wanted to make it a point to put it on the Map, no matter how small of a city we are. And in turn I wanted to make everybody from the Ville PROUD to be from there.

It makes me happy that you see that new sense of pride. Can't wait to see what these kids grow up to be 10 years from now

IAmWillAMA95 karma

Thank you for doing this AMA J. Cole, to see my favorite rapper come to my favorite online community is really something special.

3 days before Sideline Story dropped I was at your concert in Tampa, and you shouted me out at the end while doing Farewell, I was the white kid wearing a Dreamville shirt, here's a picture of me from that night http://imgur.com/dtNJLZ1 When you have your next concert in Tampa, or the closest other venue, I plan on wearing a shirt that says "Produce with J. Cole or Die Trying" I would really just like to get some advice on producing, it's become something I love to do, and you are amazing at it.

Anyways, my question for you is how does it feel to have your idol, Nas, rap over your own song, saying that he is proud of you?

Thank you once again, I've been a fan since The Warm Up, and your music has gotten me through some very hard times. Sorry for fan girling, but I've seen in interviews how you've talked about how much you liked Nas as a kid where it felt like you knew him, and that's exactly how I feel about you. Keep making amazing music, and thank you for helping bring back the real.

j_cole592 karma

thank you. i'm going to do a real tour in the fall.

I answered the Nas question. Really just wanted to say thank you for listening. And I just heard we beat Edward Snowden for #1 on Reddit. AND I AIN'T HAVE TO BETRAY THE US GOVERNMENT!!! jk jk jk jk (does anyone still use jk.. felt like a 12 year old girl typing that)

OGNicko93 karma

Much love from Jamaica, man! You out'chea!

My questions are: What's the most personal/most difficult to record song that you've ever done? Also, what song are you most proud of?

j_cole243 karma

crooked smile was the most work i've ever put into a song. it started as a mixtape sounding song (i should just drop that shit on reddit today) and grew into an incredible single with meaning and message. was hard to find the perfect writing for the 2nd and 3rd verses. and the amount of work me and elite put into the production is crazy

kanyewhite93 karma

  1. What did yourself and Drake do with all those copies of the album you bought?

  2. What was your first feeling when the album leaked so far in advance?

j_cole228 karma

I don't even know what happened to those copies. Hopefully they gave them out to the people.

My first feeling when the album leaked 12 DAYS IN ADVANCE. was "oh fuck"

Corazon-DeLeon91 karma

I remember you saying you want to produce a full project for someone. Who do you have in mind? If you don't want to say names, what type of artist would you want to do it for? Underground, trap, R&B?

P.S. - You're my favorite fucking rapper ever. I'm glad to have you representing my generation.

j_cole269 karma

thank you! i definitely want to produce an entire R&B project. I know what type of sound I can introduce to that world, and its finally turning a corner as a genre, but still needs FRESH energy and sound. R&B is too important of a genre to be as bad as it has been for the past decade.

lightningshard10179 karma

cole world for life!... how often do you get recognized by fans on an everyday basis? and what is an awesome thing that a fan has given you in the past?

j_cole170 karma

i've been watching it grow year after year after year. very often.

A fan just gave me a craaaazy painting of Pac 2 days ago. I'm going to put it in my crib when I finally BUY one

MasterOfAllCrafts71 karma

Why wasn't the beat that was used in the first Born Sinner uStream used on the album?

j_cole135 karma

Didn't like the verses on it! they were hard but sometimes a beat is so good it's overpowering and intimidating. that beat is like that.

Truecolefan69 karma

Favorite nba team?

j_cole254 karma

no real team loyalty. just follow players now. Looking for a home. my last favorite team was the KNICKS because Penny Hardaway's last real playing years were there (and i just happened to be in NYC for college). Before that it was the Magic, then the Suns. NEVER FAVORITE A TEAM BECAUSE OF A PLAYER, when he leaves you're gonna be lost in the world.

patc728754 karma

what is it that you think makes your fans so special, you know, the ones that were counting down the months til friday night lights and shitttt.

j_cole159 karma

what makes my fans special is that in order to be a fan of mine, you have to really appreciate Emotion and stories and insight and thinking a little more. Of course I'll always have some fun shit to balance it out, but the songs that hit home are the ones that make you think and say "damnn.."

HBZ415228 karma

Cole World: The Sideline Story dropped literally 7 days after I got out of rehab for a painkiller addiction, I had $17 to my name and was at Target with some people from the halfway house I was at when they filled a prescription for xanax and tried to get me to buy some with the little bit of money I had left and instead of relapsing I bought your album and listened to it every day for over a year. I know the story is kind of cheesy but I just wanted to say thanks for helping me through a hard time.

j_cole222 karma

nothing cheesy about that. thank you. that means everything. good luck to you

Omar2151 karma

Kid Cudi self-produced the whole album, Indicud, like you did on Born Sinner. What is you personal opinion on INDICUD?

j_cole140 karma

I haven't heard INDICUD because I was working on my album. But I'm really mad at myself for not finishing a verse for that album in time. Got in the studio with Cudi and he was cool as shit. Good dude. I never did my verse and the joint was harddd

OvechkinLaichsSemin47 karma

What was the most meaningful song on Born Sinner?

To me it felt like you poured your heart out and went all in on this album. Love the work. Keep it coming, you're for real, man. Changing the game..

j_cole136 karma

There is a lot of MEANING on the album. so most meaningful is hard. But I really love the title track "Born Sinner." Because even though there's lots of pitfalls, temptations, dangers, and tribulations on the album, it ends in a hopeful place with "i'm a born sinner, but i'll die BETTER than that" listen to those verses for more clarity. plus i touch on the things that are really important to me. relationship (got her life in my grip), family (she hate the way she raised me but she loved what she raised), friends (if i died today my nigga was it business, was it personal?)

thank you

OvechkinLaichsSemin45 karma

You and Drake collabing is dope. Can we ever rule out a "Watch The Throne" type of album between the 2 of you?

How do you feel about 305k in the first week?

j_cole64 karma

the week isn't over. no guarantee i will reach that #. but i feel good regardless, blessed and grateful. ready to tour the music

atruedjentleman42 karma

Hey, I really wanted to thank you for dropping such a wonderful album. I just wanted to know, how do you go about finding samples, and what was the inspiration behind sampling Da Art of Storytelling? Thanks for this AMA, and have a good day.

j_cole97 karma

used to have the time to look through samples ALLLLL DAY, listening through album after album after album. now i leave it up to God, the samples find me. I still look a lot, but in different ways now.

Zukerhyan39 karma

Even though you've come so far in the industry, there's still a very apparent 'under dog' tone to your music. What forces specifically do you feel like you're a pawn to, even at your position? What struggles do you find define your career at this stage?

j_cole188 karma

Good question.

There is still an underdog tone, because I still feel like one. Everything about my story and my journey is so unlikely. The odd's of me being in the position I am now, and of me being on my way to where I'm trying to go, are not in my favor. Being a small city kid from NC, in a rap game where everybody's either from NYC, CHI, LA, ATL, HOUSTON, MIAMI, even TORONTO is still a Major city. No gang affiliations, no dope dealer past, no controversy. Just belief and hard work and skill. College degree? It's opposite of everything we think you're supposed to be as a rapper. But here I am.

marianaaaaa38 karma

First and foremost, thank you for being one of the best rappers out there. You're inspiring, humble, intelligent and got mad skills. You make all of your fans proud, especially with your new album which I left work early just to cop. Can't wait to see you in Chicago tomorrow! Even my mom wants to see you!!

Since most of the questions I wanted to ask ya have been answered my only question left for you is....

What's the best piece of advice you've ever received and is there any quote(s) you like to live by?

j_cole175 karma

hate the advice question. it's hard for me to answer.

but my quote is "the bigger the dreams, the smaller the competition"

RoyDaRappah35 karma

Hey J. Cole, I would like to know what was your rap career like before your big move to New York? I've heard so much about your escapades in NY but I haven't really heard about how it was back in Fayetteville.

j_cole101 karma

i had 2 identities. To my friends and to the people I knew around the city, I was just jermaine or "cole." But then we would be coming from the club and stop at the gas station, and somebody would be like "oh shit! therapist what up!"

That's because there was a Rap community in Fayetteville that I was also apart of. They knew me by my rap name and my affiliation with Bomm Sheltuh (my mentors). I was the young kid that was NASTY on the mic.

Batman - Bruce Wayne

Kolab33 karma

So....have you met Jay Electronica? How's he like?

Who's your favorite celebrity that you've met/would like to meet?

j_cole122 karma

jay electronica has the most phone numbers out of anybody i ever met. He changes his number every 16 hours.

DoubleHammy32 karma

How did you celebrate the release of born sinner?

Cole world.

j_cole95 karma

got twisted tuesday night with friends and fam in NYC while feeling really grateful and relieved and blessed and happy.

sunitadharani31 karma

You Killed the Jodeci Freestyle with Drake, How did that song come to be?

j_cole87 karma

Wednesday night at the club in NYC, Drizzy told me he was dropping a bunch of songs Friday Night. I had to be a part of it. I don't even know how I made it happen, I had so much shit to do and no room on the schedule (album signings, meet and greets, show, after party, repeat). Not to mention NO VOICE. But I found a way and did my verse yesterday in Philly.

Fire. and THE MOTION is crazyyy.

shaeof30 karma

Today was a special moment for all of us (your fans). You win, we win. When you hurt, we hurt. The journey continues. We wish you nothing but the best Maine.

j_cole63 karma

thank you. we got a long way to go, but we going

ohnojoevo27 karma

Congratulations on Nas's remix to your joint Cole!

Listening to your songs I often get chills. Songs such as God's Gift, Return of Simba, See it to Believe it and too many songs off of Born Sinner! Has there ever been a song you've heard whether it be from Nas or someone else that has blown your mind and influenced your style greatly?

j_cole66 karma

Nas- Undying Love Eminem- Stan just mind blowing concepts tons more of course from more than just those rappers

RyanMatthewsss25 karma

Cole you have fans in the UK are you gonna come tour over here?

j_cole67 karma

yup. in the fall

T7724 karma

Hi J. Cole. I have a few questions for you but first off I would like to say thank you for taking time out of your day to do an AMA here on HipHopHeads. I've been a big fan of yours ever since my friend at school introduced me to some of your songs last year. I really wanted to come to your Atlanta show a couple of days ago and support you and buy some merchandise but I found out that there was an age limit, and I am only 15.

  1. What are your favorite things to do outside of rapping?
  2. What job would you like to have if you didn't rap?
  3. What has been the hardest part of your rapping career so far?
  4. Do you think of yourself as "famous" now that you have had two successful albums?
  5. Are you going to be releasing any winter merchandise for Born Sinner? I would really like to have a hoody with the album art on it and wear it all around my campus.

Thanks again for doing this AMA, I am looking foward to future album and mixtape releases.

j_cole89 karma

If I didn't rap I have no clue what I would want to do. Would take a lot of self re-evaluating to figure that out. Too much passion for music to think of something else right now.

Hardest part of my rap career so far was finding the balance. How to become a mainstream artist without losing myself. Took a lot of experimenting, trying things, sometimes failing. But I found it.

Born Sinner CROWN Hoodies on the way.