Wednesday, Vulture dropped an extensive Cole chat featuring the Dreamville co-founder's candid reflections on his "1985" lyrics, Kendrick Lamar's influence, Lil Peep's death, and more.
"It's really a 'shoe fits' situation—several people can wear that shoe," Cole said of KOD closer "1985," which many have interpreted as taking aim at Smokepurpp, Lil Pump, and others. "Why you yelling at your show? You must feel attacked in some kind of way, must feel offended, and if you feel offended, then that means something rings true, something struck a chord. That's cool with me. That's all I ever want to do."
He added, “If you exclude the top three rappers in the game, the most popping rappers all are exaggerated versions of black stereotypes."
Though Cole's appreciation of Trippie Redd and XXXTentacion is noted in the Vulture piece, he still had criticism for other younger artists, many of whom he sees as "exaggerated versions of black stereotypes" and caricatures.
A turning point for Cole's KOD era was the night he caught a Kendrick Lamar show and realized he wanted some of that. The show, a Damn-promoting stop in Detroit last year, apparently reminded Cole of his own 2014 Forest Hills Drive. "It was a recognition—like 'Oh, I'll take that again.' Like looking at a menu, 'I'll have that again,'" Cole explained.
Elsewhere, Cole discussed influence of a different kind by opening up about Dave Chappelle's sage baby advice, how his stepfather Edward was the inspiration behind his alter ego kiLL edward, Donald Glover's tweeted Deadpool script (“that was just a flex"), and much more. The full piece, penned by Paul Cantor and featuring an opening moment in which Cole goes for an impromptu mountain-climb, is available here. As Cantor explained Wednesday, this is Cole's first interview in several years.