J. Cole hasn't given a full, in-depth interview in over three years, so people have been left to draw their own conclusions about his music and points of view. That changed today as he gave an interview to Vulture writer Paul Cantor.
Many listeners perceived Cole to be taking shots at Lil Pump and other young rappers on KOD album closer "1985 - Intro to 'The Fall Off,'" but he explains that it's more open-ended than that.
"It’s really a ‘shoe fits’ situation—several people can wear that shoe," Cole says. "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."
Cole explains that his target was aimed at the current state of hip-hop as a whole, and says, "If you exclude the top three rappers in the game, the most popping rappers all are exaggerated versions of black stereotypes. Extremely tatted up. Colorful hair. Flamboyant. Brand names. It’s caricatures, and still the dominant representation of black people, on the most popular entertainment format for black people, period."
As for his relationship with prominent rappers from the younger generation, Cole says, "I’m now in a place where I can hear people and get excited, like this kid is dope as fuck. I wasn’t there before—everybody was trash." At the moment, he says he "fucks with" Trippie Redd, enjoys XXXTentacion, and has Lil Baby’s "All of a Sudden" stuck in his head.
He also made a point to comment on Lil Peep, saying, "The album is already a warning, and this kid dies while I’m sitting in the studio mixing the shit—do you know how creepy that was? That shit was heavy."
You can read the full interview on Vulture here.