As J. Cole’s sixth studio album The Off-Season fastly approaches, the North Carolina rapper graced the cover of Slam magazine and discussed where his mind is at as he prepares for what might be the last leg of his music career.
While chopping it up with Brandon “Jinx” Jenkins, Cole revealed that despite mapping out what appeared to be his retirement tour with what he labeled “The Fall Off Era”—consisting of a string of guest features, The Off-Season, It’s a Boy, and The Fall Off—he has no intentions on giving his career a clear finish line.
“Oh, bro, I’m super comfortable with the potential of being done with this shit,” Cole explained. “But I’m never going to say, ‘Oh, this is my last album.’ … Because I never know how I’m going to feel two years, three years, four years down the line, 10 years down the line, but please believe, I’m doing all this work for a reason.”
Earlier in the cover story, Cole explained he felt like he might have reached the highest heights of his career after dropping 2014 Forest Hills Drive. Following his world tour for the album, Cole finally found time to do things other than focus on music. That period was important, but he ultimately decided he would push himself to become the best artist he could be, rather than lead “a more comfortable life that’s less inspired, less push, less stretching yourself and getting out of your comfort zone.”
He elaborated about “The Fall Off Era”: “First it was the thought and the feeling, and I was looking for a phrase to sum that up. That was the birth of it. I found the phrase in 2016, actually, early 2016 when I was working on 4 Your Eyez Only. I found a phrase, I did the hook to the song and I was like, ‘Oh, this is the phrase that sums up this whole chapter for me.’ And that’s when I started working on The Fall Off.”
Now he doesn’t want to feel like he left anything on the table. “I’m doing all this work to be at peace with, if I never did another album, I’m cool,” he explained. “That’s the reason for all of this, so I know that I put everything on the table. I left everything on the table, and I’m good with that. Because there’s a lot of shit I want to do with my life and in my life that, because I have such an intense love and passion for the craft, if I don’t let that go, I’m not going to be able to get to these other things that I also want to learn and grow and be good at.”