J. Cole Recalls Troubles Paying Rent, Says He's An Underdog

J. Cole details his time spent in Jamaica, Queens, before he was signed to Jay Z's Roc Nation.

Before North Carolina emcee J. Cole signed with the Jay Z-led Roc Nation in 2009, the rapper says he spent the time prior to his signing in a home in Jamaica, Queens with a handful of friends from school. During that time, the rapper says he struggled to pay rent, but was fortunate enough to have a landlord who was supportive of his dreams to become a rap star.

“The landlord himself, Muhammad, he’s just a great guy. So, I always try to shout him out,” said Cole. “My landlord from the first apartment I ever got, kicked us out. I was looking and looking and looking and this was the only place I found with enough bedrooms for me and my homeboys from school. It wasn’t the nicest, but it was affordable. I took the worse room in the house because I knew everybody didn’t want to come over there. I was just like ‘Yo, what we gon’ do? We gotta go somewhere. I’m from North Carolina. I ain’t got nowhere to go. I need a spot. I’m getting this spot.’ So, that’s how we ended up here… My landlord Muhammad he like really believed in me. So, when my rent kept piling, he never tripped. He just let me kinda just stick around. So, when I finally got the deal, after all them years, of course I paid him back in full.”

Cole continued to speak on his experience living in Queens during his Life & Rhymes segment with MTV, as he reminisced on waking up in Muhammad’s home each day, visualizing his future success in rap.

“Waking up in this every day is like so far from where I wanted to be,” said the Southern lyricist. “But this is the room where it started feeling real. You know what I mean? Where I started really believing and visualizing it. I used to literally wake up and tell myself like ‘Yo, today I want to write a song that millions of people are gonna sing. And millions of people gonna love.' I set that intention.”

Prior to detailing his time spent in New York City’s biggest borough, Cole commented on overcoming the odds and what his idea of happiness is.

“I definitely consider myself an underdog,” said Cole “I always was in an underdog position. Just being from Fayetteville, North Carolina. Coming to New York City, the odds was against me. I got a long way to go and I know that, but I’m not gonna stop until they give me my props. Ultimately, happiness is the most important thing. And the pure happiness I think is finding happiness with yourself, how you are."

With the release of his sophomore album, Born Sinner, now months behind him, Cole is currently focused on his What Dreams May Come tour. The tour also features D.C. rapper Wale and is scheduled to make stops in Las Vegas, San Francisco, and Seattle this month.

In addition to touring, Cole will also reportedly play a hand in the creation of TLC’s upcoming album.

“I got some production on the album that they doing," said Cole during an interview with Billboard.com last month. "What we really planning on doing is to really go in and lock in. Cause as a producer I know what I can give them. I know what I can bring them. And I know what they need. They don’t need me, but I’ll give them my best material.”

Get More: J. Cole, MTV Shows

RELATED: Eminem "Rapture" Event To Feature Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole & 360

20 Comments

  • J Cole's Landlord

    The check bounced!

  • Anonymous

    Lazy freeloader. Even seniors scrape together enough cash to pay rent. Why should J Snore have been any different?

  • Anonymous

    Your not an underdog, you just fuckin boring

  • COCA

    THERE HE GOES WITH HIS SOB STORIES... CORNBALL

    • Azz Wipe

      LOL HILARIOUS AT NOTHING CORNBALL ABOUT J.COLE LOL I WOULD LISTEN TO THE SAME J.COLE SINGLE OVER AND OVER BEFORE I LISTEN TO YOUR WACK ASS CORNBALL COMMENT SAD U KNOW WHY YOUR CORNBALL CAUSE U HAVE NO LIFE LOL GROW SOME BALLS AND GET ONE INSTEAD OF LIVING AT HOME WITH YOUR MOMMA SHIT J.COLE GOT HIS LIFE AND HE IS LIVING OUT HIS DREAM U ON THE OTHER HAND DON'T HAVE A FUTURE CAUSE YOUR NOT DOING SHIT WITH YOUR LIFE JUST HATING ON J.COLE THAT GETS U NOWHERE HATE ALL U WANT DUDE AIN'T NOTHING GOING TO CHANGE LIKE J.COLE SAID U PUT TWO AND TWO TOGETHER COLE HERE FOREVER AND THAT'S THE WAY IT'S GOING TO BE FOR ALONG TIME LOL

  • READ NOW

    BITCH I see more stuff about the SALES then the damn content of the albums being put out WTF!!!...greedy fools with appreciation for the artist and what they do with their MUSIC

  • Anonymous

    why not just buy him another block of flat then just paying back his rent?....stingy

  • DaMamba

    Ayo how this dude gonna talk about STILL being the underdog after all the chances he's had and the success he's seen? You know why people ain't gone give Cole respect in the long run? Cause ALL dude raps about is how bitches and friends from the old days didn't believe in him...broken record on repeat yo

    • Whateva man pleaze

      Do SHUT THE FUCK UP AND GO suck drakes dick BITCH j.COLE is just reflecting on the hard times growing up and how it was before the success and fame he's getting the respect he deserves and I know he will continue to get even more respect now that he is getting Mainstreamed so y'all can say what u want but when I hear a iconic rapper like Nas say u didn't let me down u made me proud here go the crown to j.cole that in its self is saying that j.cole has a bright future of him and that the throne is his I mean come on he outsold KANYE in US sales SHIT even Kendrick said that J.COLE speaks for a generation of people face FACTS PEOPLE j.COLE is the truth so get use to it

  • Anonymous

    GIVE ME A CHANCE Youtube is all about finding new artist, & though I been rapping for a while im still consider a new artist. I just want my music heard thats all, im not looking for no record deal, getting famous 'r anything like that.! so please just spare a few sec. to check me out, & if you like what you heard please SUBSCRIBE so ill know you actually listen & support http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PaSNK0pm4eY

  • KC

    What's wrong wit J coles face in that pic?

  • Jay

    Who hasn't had troubles paying rent?

  • fastflipper

    j.cole ))))))))))) k.dot

  • truth

    Cole kinda flopped. Kendrick stole the summer with "Control" and now with this "did he diss Drake?" BET verse. All the attention is on K.Dot and Drake and he was supposed to be the "Nas" to Drake's "Jay".

    • false

      YEA TRUTH J.COLE'S BORN SINNER HAS CURRENTLY SOLD OVER 600,000+ COPIES TO DATE THAT'S NOT A FLOP AT ALL AND U ARE VERY DUMB TO THINK OTHERWISE ANY RAP ARTIST THAT GOES GOLD AND MANAGES TO SELL OVER 500,000+ ALBUMS LET ALONE GO PLATINUM SHOULD GIVE THEMSELVES A PET ON THE BACK AND BESIDES J.COLE AIN'T DEAD BUDDY LOL SORRY TO BREAK THE NEWS TO U TRUTH BUT EVEN THOUGH DRAKE AND KENDRICK LAMAR ARE GETTING THE MEAT OF THE ATTENTION THERE IS STILL EYES ON J.COLE LET'S FACE IT HIS SOPHOMORE ALBUM IS CERTIFIED GOLD, HE GOT LIKE TWO HIT SINGLES THAT ARE CERTIFIED PLATINUM, HE'S BEEN PERFORMING AT BIG MUSIC EVENTS LIKE THE IHEART RADIO MUSIC FESTIVAL, GOT A NOMINATION AT THE VMAS THIS YEAR, HE'S BEEN GOING ON BIG TOURS LIKE THE DOLLAR AND A DREAM TOUR AND CURRENTLY THE HUGE WHAT DREAMS MAY COME TOUR WITH WALE WHICH IS ABOUT TO HIT EUROPE IN NOVEMBER FOR THE SECOND HALF, AND ALSO J.COLE JUST WON AN AWARD FOR HIS CROOKED SMILE SINGLE AT THE BET HIP HOP AWARDS FOR IMPACT TRACK, AND IF THAT WASN'T ENOUGH EMINEM IS TAKING J.COLE ALONG WITH KENDRICK LAMAR AND A FEW OTHER ARTISTS WITH HIM TO AUSTRALIA IN FEBRUARY 2014 FOR HIS RAPUTURE TOUR SO REAL TALK TRUTH J.COLE HAS HAD A PHENOMENAL 2013 WHETHER KENDRICK AND DRAKE TOOK SOME OF THE SHINE FROM HIS SUMMER OR NOT J.COLE HAS STILL BEEN VERY DOMINATING THIS YEAR THERE'S NO DENYING IT OUT OF ALL THE HIP HOP ALBUMS THAT CAME OUT THIS YEAR BORN SINNER HAS THE FOURTH HIGHEST FIRST WEEK SALES OF 2013 SO FAR AND IS ALSO CURRENTLY THE THIRD TOP SELLING HIP HOP ALBUM OF THE YEAR IN THE TOP 10 SURPASSED ONLY BY JAY-Z AND DRAKE FOR NOW UNTIL EMINEM RELEASES MARSHAL MATHERS 2 YEP THAT SUMS UP J.COLE FOR THIS YEAR ALL FACTS DUDE ALL FACTS AND IT LOOKS LIKE IN 2014 J.COLE WILL CONTINUE HIS RAIN AMONG BE THE TOP HIP HOP ARTISTS IN THE GAME THE COLE WORLD AIN'T ENDING ANYTIME SOON SO STAY WARM HATERS!!!!! LOL!!!

    • COME_ON_SON

      cole flopped? how when he out sold kanye... u saying he flopped is not the truth...COME ON SON!!!!!! if anybody flopped was mr west

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  • Anonymous

    DJ Khaled and Tyga still have troubles paying the rent

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