As is always the case with Cole event pieces, there's plenty here for fans to analyze, perhaps most of all his thoughts on legacy.
"I've reached a point in my life where I'm like, 'How long am I gonna be doing this for?'" Cole said in the piece, penned by Allison P. Davis. "I'm starting to realize like, oh shit—let's say I stopped this year. I would feel like I missed out on certain experiences, you know? Working with certain artists, being more collaborative, making more friends out of peers, making certain memories that I feel like if I don't, I'm gonna regret it one day."
Of course, a core component of the Cole legacy is the once-ubiquitous "no features" meme. Speaking on the fan-driven proclamation with Davis, Cole explained that he initially found the whole thing to be "funny as hell." As the meme continued, however, his feelings changed. "But the second or third time, I was like, 'All right, it's almost embarrassing now,'" Cole, who's currently working on a documentary, said. "Like, 'All right, man, y'all gonna make me put a feature on the album just so this shit can stop.'" Later in the interview, Cole suggests a change-up to this approach in the name of stepping out of one's comfort zone.
As Cole revealed when discussing a fateful 2013 Versace sweater moment, he's been outside of that zone—in both good and bad ways—at different points in his career. A recent example of the good was his 2018 sitdown with Lil Pump, a conversation during which Cole says Pump maintained his "wall" but still earned his support.
As for that sweater, Cole still looks back at that moment as a defining one. "Man, look, no disrespect to French, but I feel like this some shit French Montana would have on," Cole said of the debacle, which saw himself and two other artists rocking the same Versace sweater on the red carpet. "I'm like looking in the mirror like, 'Who the fuck is this?'"
Cole also discussed the upside to losing the Best New Artist Grammy, buying a place in New York, whittling down the Dreamville comp Revenge of the Dreamers 3 from 127 possible songs, and Colin Kaepernick. During the interview, Cole received a FaceTime call from Kaepernick that was eventually ended due to service issues. By Cole's assessment, Kaepernick will "probably play again." Read the full interview, featuring photography by Awol Erizku, right here.