J. Cole Recalls Jay-Z's Advice About Starting His Career

Cole explains that it was Hov's own advice that pushed him as an artist and led him to success.

With a platinum single, a gold record and Grammy nomination already to his, J. Cole has positioned himself to be one of 2012's most promising artists. Now, the Roc Nation rapper talks about what it took him to get where he is now and how his boss Jay-Z advised him on his path to success.

In a recent interview with the Associated Press, Cole spoke on his numerous accomplishments this past year and following in Hova's footsteps. He said that Jay taught him that the best way to navigate his career is to simply follow his instinct. Furthermore, he added that Jay's hands-off approach pushed him not to rest on his laurels and focus on growing his brand.

"I'm grateful for everything that happened, but I'm not satisfied. There [are] still accomplishments that keep happening from the work that I put in last year and from the last two, three years...but those are just reminders of the work that I did. That's in the past. Like, what's the next move? That's my mind state," he explained. "Early in my album process [Jay-Z] was like, 'When you're first starting out, it's good to not know everything.' He made the analogy that when you're first starting it's almost like you're trying to get across a room, but the room is pitch-black, and when you finally get to the other side of the room and you flick on the light, you look back and you realize there were snakes over here, there was a hole over there...but because you were following your heart, you made the right decision."

He added, "One thing I appreciate about Jay-Z is he let me do it my way and let me figure it out...he never compromised or interfered with my creative process. There was a never a point when he was like, 'I need to come in and play big brother and show you how to do this.' He let me figure it out, and it feels better to win like that. It feels better winning knowing that I figured this thing out on my own and if it wouldn't have worked, I would have been OK with bumping my head and failing on my own terms, rather than winning on somebody else's."

RELATED: J. Cole Performs "Can't Get Enough" With The Roots On "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon"


  • MakaveliDaDon

    Lmao! You Niggas Crazy...J. Cole spits crack! Real shit

  • daviddanielz

    I personaly enjoyed his album but I notice his music is speaking from the heart and he keeps it has real as possible. So maybe you guys hate that but I rather someone do that then be fake like Rick Ross or Drake.

  • S

    Come on admit it!! Sideline Story is an AVERAGE Hip Hop LP. It's not even about hate...it's sad cause he worked hard for it and still the album is no more than a B -

  • iamhiphop

    A bunch of haters here.

  • jg

    this nigga is a subpar MC

  • Anonymous

    ain't a hater but this dude is meh

  • Anonymous

    You have to force yourself trough his songs. Nigga gives boring a whole new meaning.

  • DVD

    I tried and tried again to feel J.Cole...But this nigga boring as fuck... Dont believe the hype.

  • Triniti

    All this hate from broke, jobless niggas typing away.... Haters gonna hate *kanye shrug*

  • Anonymous

    its sad that people didnt respect this man,. hes a real dude. and big up to Jay for not interfering with this man's progress.

  • Anonymous

    God damn, dude is one of the real artists and rappers with underground skills that made it to the mainstream who represents and respect the artform and you got niggas hating on him. Hip Hop fans are the worst.

  • Anonymous

    same niggas hating now are the same niggas that were dickriding him just a year ago.. smh

  • realtalk

    internet thugs....smh lot of hate for j cole and majority of it is from people hatin on jay z, funny thing is you all bumpin watch the throne, no one paid/manipulated me to like j cole, unlike y'all I decide who I listen to. he got some ways to go but he will get there and i bet all of you will still hate. hes proven himself and hes only gonna get better.

  • rise and shine

    soon as a nigga becomes mainstream the hate starts. you hatin ass bitches are tellin me you would stay underground and not get signed by one of the biggest rappers of all time? (even tho i think jay has made about 3 decent albums) j. cole got barz j. cole production is ok, and it will get better and better

    • Anonymous

      Real Talk, next album will be huge improvement over the first one. Nigga hasn't used everything. Thousand times better than someone who drops a hot debut and falls off after that.

  • So Icy Boi!

    J. Cole sucks..... Drake outsold him. end of story. fuck a J. COLE! swag

  • Dusty

    can this 0 j-cole just go away? your album sucked your stories boring the only fans you got think 49 year old jay z is killing shit your flow is boring your topics are weak your production sucks your videos make counting grains of rice seem fun you are the anti-puss of the rap game mechancial pencil lead wrist, long face pale nigga, with bushy brows, and forced southern frat boy raps hip hop stinks how did this kid get a shot? makes memphis bleek look like early rakim jigga is pathetic, jigga knows this kid is a 0 i see old ass jay dropping this kid like a cigarette before his next weed plate is pressed every new rapper is a boring dolt or a delusional hack meanwhile jay electronica puts finishing touches on the one song he will drop in 2012 that may or may not suck LOL fuck this rap shit right now man

    • iamhiphop

      You clearly are an ignorant-ass Kitts. Why's J Cole boring? Because he's not rapping about drugs, hoes, and murder over club banger-type beats or rapping like Nas, Rakim, B.I.G., etc? He has his own style and is making it work. He's in the same category as Lupe Fiasco, Kendrick Lamar, Big K.R.I.T, etc. as a modern-day hip-hop great. You're entitled to your own opinion, but I strongly disagree.

    • Anonymous

      see you kids are just clueless why would he need 5-10 years to be great? nas was great the second we heard him rakim was great the second we heard him eminem was great the second we heard him jay-z was great the second we heard him big was great the second we heard him his shit is boring, and he had all kinds of promotion. first time he was heard was on jay-z blueprint 3 and he did not impress. if he was ready the album woulda been put out right then after. you kids are clowns. i dont like j-cole so i like lil wayne and young money? fucking idiots. you know how many rappers would body this kid that wont get 1/100 of the attention? but carry on, keep buying what the man is selling.

    • @Dusty

      Same thing that @Anonymous said applies to you, too. At least J Cole isn't making simplistic, boom-bap crap talking about weed, money, hoes, and gun violence that other Southern rappers are making.

    • @Anonymous

      I bet you like YMCMB and MMG. J Cole is the opposite of everything you said. He's a ok producer and a good rapper, better than Soulja Boy, Waka Flocka, Gucci Mane, Lil Wayne, Drake, Nicki Minaj, etc. He's still growing as an artist. Give him some time. In probably 5-10 years (if he last that long), he could be considered a modern great. Everyone's entitled to their own opinions, but you have to give credit where it's due. He had the number one album in the country with little to no promotion that went gold, it got good reviews from critics;some called it a modern-day classic, and has a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist. BTW I'm not a stan. I've been listening to J Cole since his first mixtape.

    • Fuckboy ass nigga

      perfect example of a hater

    • Anonymous

      You're right, man. Music HAS to be entertaining. Cole is fucking terrible at everything in rapping and that sentence with Gucci was nothing but the truth. This guy would've never made it in the 90's.

    • Anonymous

      uh no actually i was never a fan. i dont care if youre underground or mainstream, that argument is tired. good music is good music. his shit is boring. try again. the kid sucks, and has always sucked. mixtapes were boring, album is boring pop heavy trash, live shows weak. all gas and no go. what is he good at? he sucks at everything. wack voice, wack flow, wack albums, wack beats, and boring as shit on top of all that. the bar is so low today that anyone not sounding like gucci mane 2.0 is considered promising talent. and dont act like hes some kind of superstar thats killing the game, he has jay-z's backing, has roc nation booking his shows and appearances, had his album hyped for years, and still dropped a stinker. that's not a winner. that's an underachieving bum rapper.

    • Anonymous

      I bet u was a fan when he was ''underground.'' But he got success and mainstream exposure, so it's cool to go against the grain, huh? You miserable piece of shit, that's what you get for being a lame, nigga shitted on you, moved on and went gold.

    • Anonymous

      ''makes memphis bleek look like early rakim'' God damn, THAT was ruthless!

  • Anonymous

    this nigga has so much talent I am glad he finally got the credit he deserved!!! He reminds me alot of Kidd Upstairs http://www.thissongslaps.com/2012/02/x-o-orange-soda/

  • the Truth

    so much hate for real talent but so much love for weak rappers. Heres a man that talks about real shit and doesnt lie about his past unlike 90% of these rappers and yall hate him for that? Cole mit not fit the new age rap persona but the boy got talent. Remember: Talent>gimmick

  • daviddanielz

    I like J Cole and I enjoyed his album. I have a feeling his career is going to last a long time. He just needs to stay clear of anything Cash Money related or he will be in danger of being compared to them and it will hurt his career.

  • ThaReal

    WOW!!! Their is a lot of hate on here directed at J.Cole. No matter what you say about the man he has a platinum single, gold album, a loyal fan base. People r so stuck that they believe all mc's have to talk about hood shit, drugs, murder to be relevent in the game. J.Cole has great lyrics with substance that will only get better. U young hip hop n@ggas step ur listening game up.

    • Lol

      I don't know if people know this, but I'm tired of hearing about people always having marketing being the reason they sell. In this day and age, before an artist is even considered being signed, they have to have a solid fan base and an overall buzz on the INTERNET, both of which J. Cole had prior to signing to Roc Nation. His album barely had any marketing, not as much as other artists, yet he was still able to go Gold (Which in this day and age is good for an artist). I'm a J. Cole, but I'm also a huge critic and I'll say when music is whack, and J. Cole isn't. Sure, he has some bad songs, but what artist doesn't? He's about the stories he's telling, not the hot beat you're looking for on every song. You're probably 14 years old anyway, so really, your favorite artist is on YMCMB.

    • Anonymous

      loyal fan base your mom's flabby ass. how much motherfucking marketing $$$ was spent on this 'audience' and how much profit is this Shawn Carter cocksucker really making after all the white palms are greased? J. Cole is a fraud.

  • J Walker

    Man this Black and Whie Nigga has been on Jigga's Dick for a minute now !

  • Anonymous

    dx needs to step their "main story" game up.

  • Anonymous

    Dude better figure out what to do next because his career in show business is OVER. Sold his ass for a dogshit album and lukewarn at best Camel co-sign. J. Cole has ZERO fans who'd actually follow him on his own; total mediocrity, no charisma, no future in show business though it he's smart he'll go back to school and study nursing or chemistry.

    • ETK

      OP talkin out his ignorant ass.. J.Cole built up a decent female fanbase, and that's almoost a crucial ingredient to get to platinum status

    • Anonymous

      @ 1st anonymous response what is it with you niggas and you homoerotic fantasies on every damn article? seriously is there something you need to get off your chest? nobody even on that type of shit and you start talking about gay sex for no reason. wtf

    • Anonymous

      Zero fans? Kill yourself, you fucking retard. He toured for two years straight and built an almost overly loyal fanbase that will buy anything he drops.

    • Anonymous

      stfu and i hope u get butt raped in jail

  • Diddy

    You JV, Im varsity. No field trip; aint hard to see. This real sh-t, you R&B.

  • Diddy


  • DiceTRAKZ

    Im glad Cole is gettin his shine, he deserve it! dude been makin the dopest mix tapes. The warm up is a CLASSIC! Congrats!

    • DiceTRAKZ

      Lol, wow another "anonymous" lame ass nigga. Street team? naw homie, jus some one knows actual talent when it comes to this rap shit. I been listenin to cole for a coo min now ( Long before he got sign by Jay) and dude is dope. Anyone who knows & understand hip hop and what a dope mc is would agree. Ur most likely a nikki manaj fan or some other corny shit like that. Which is ok, but ppl like u should NEVER speak on actual mc's.

    • Anonymous

      ^^^^^^^ j cole street team says what (douchebag)

  • It happened


    • ETK

      the album did great. it went gold, and sure record sales don't matter all that much but to your question, he's winnin for what? he got a whole new set of a ladies' fanbase, that's what. record sales may not matter but the quality of an album is subjective. like, even myself I wasn't too fond of the beats on Cole World. but he can make party beats(to an extent..) and he can spit, now the idea is where does he go from there.. plenty of room to go.

    • Troubleman

      Wow... Its called being witty or in the movies its a wink at the crowd. These are meant for people to get it and be simple homie. Shit gets stuck in your head even my bitch can dig it. Nobody checkin for mad gun play and only so many can rap like Lupe. God's Gift,Rise and shine,Cole world. Bet it on black and hope I quadruple my salary/if I win maybe then I can pay Sallie Mae. At least he does his own hooks. FUCKIN FRESH!!

    • Anonymous

      LMAO i did hear alot of sub par lyrics in the album but theres still time for him to grow

  • Dubz

    I can appreciate an artist like J. Cole and Kanye West...not looking to Hova for hand outs or butt hurt cause he didn't help them. Kanye West is better for it and Cole will be too. Create your own path don't follow behind Jigga's


    COLE WORLD!!!! Cole Won. Haters Lost

    • Anonymous

      won what? he should form a "supergroup" with Royce Da' 59 IQ and they can kiss each other whenever the other person says "Eminem" or "Jay."

  • Jason27

    It's "advice" in this sense, not "advise"

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