Recently, J. Cole spoke about his admiration for Kanye West, his lack of radio play and why he felt the need to make a song like “Work Out.” In the interview with Karmaloop, Cole also said he feels he has helped the careers of Kendrick Lamar and Big K.R.I.T. by putting out his album this year.
When told that his career is reminiscent of Kanye West’s rise, Cole explained that he hopes it’s true.
“If it feels like that, then that’s great. I would love to be as successful as he has been, putting out hits and making hits consistently that still reprersent him. All his hits, you would never look at him like, ‘Aw, why you make that?’ It all felt like Kanye West, which is dope.”
He also shed light on a lack of radio air play, saying some markets treat him like a star while others have ignored his songs.
“Those things just didn’t catch up nationally. Now, ‘Work Out’ is going. ‘Work Out’ will go because it’s doing its thing on radio every day. “Can’t Get Enough” is gonna go. “Nobody’s Perfect” is gonna go. But it’s just, the work that I put in on the ground level was faster than radio catching on. You got some stations like in Tampa, L.A., New York, some markets where I’m a superstar. They play my songs 35, 40 times a day or whatever. Then you have some markets that are barely playing it.”
He also acknowledged that he has felt pressure to succeed through radio, pressure that helped him make “Work Out.”
“At one point, yeah. That’s how you get a song like ‘Work Out.’ I went to radio stations and seen how radio stations work…I went and learned all these things. That’s how I made a record like ‘Work Out.’ I went, ‘Okay, I can play that game. I’ll give you a song full of hooks,’ the catchy shit that I knew would work on radio. That’s me playing the game.”
Cole also went on to note that he feels his album has changed the game.
“We created a new mold, a new formula. Kendrick Lamar, Big K.R.I.T. now, they don’t necessarily have to feel the pressure that I felt like, ‘Where’s the big single?’ I was the sacrificial lamb of that. That’s why my album wasn’t coming out, because of the label waiting on a huge single.”