J. Cole's third studio album, 2014 Forest Hills Drive, has made a significant impact in hip-hop, both for its riveting personal narrative and his unique rollout (read our review here). The album is projected to sell between 320-350,000 copies in its first week, which would make it the highest-selling rap release of the year in its debut week, though it's clear Cole has no reservations about where it lands on the Billboard charts. The music comes first for him.
The 29-year-old rapper recently sat down with NPR and Microphone Check hosts Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Frannie Kelley to talk about his latest project, Kendrick Lamar, Ferguson, and being inspired by Bob Marley. The hour-long conversation reveals a very interesting tidbit about Forest Hills Drive that will certainly have fans buzzing, which was Cole's original plan to have a longer album. "People don't understand the decisions that go into making the album," he states. "Like, the scenes I had to cut to make this album. At one point this was a double album, and making those cuts was sooooo hard. And certain decisions like that are so hard to do."
Another aspect Cole touches on is his close relationship with Kendrick, and conversations they've had in the past. He also brings up the fact that he originally gave the Compton rapper the beat for "St. Tropez," before deciding to use it for his own album. "He let me get that back," Cole says. "He was like, 'You owe me though.'"
As someone who was visibly supportive regarding the Ferguson incident this past August, and more recently with Eric Garner, J. Cole talked about the indictment, or lack thereof, that took place for Darren Wilson and why he felt that was important. "When the Darren Wilson non-indictment came. That was the biggest slap in the face, that I feel like we needed, actually. America needed that. Black America needed that smack in the face, so we could see what it really is."
Read his full interview with NPR here. Also, be sure to check out Cole's interview with Angie Martinez below, where he speaks on his powerful performance of "Be Free" on the Late Show with David Letterman, and his lyrical reference to Eminem and Macklemore on "Fire Squad." J. Cole's 2014 Forest Hills Drive is available for purchase on iTunes.