Before Carolina rapper J. Cole made his mark on the music world with his debut album Cole World: The Sideline Story and before any talk of a collaborative album between himself and fellow emcee Kendrick Lamar was ever mentioned, J. Cole says he had long given the Compton rapper his stamp of approval.

During the second edition of CRWN, a newly-introduced live interview series, the Dreamville artist spoke briefly on his relationship with Kendrick Lamar and expressed his pride in the rapper and his current success.

“That’s my man first and foremost and I just feel proud because I seen it,” said Cole. “You know what I mean? Like I tried to tell people early and I never really even stamped nobody before. And before my album was even out, before he even had a deal, I was making sure to stamp him. It’s a long story, but just to even get into how we met, it was so organic.”

J. Cole revealed that while both rappers may have varying accounts of their first encounter with one another, his version of their first interaction tells the story of the pair’s first true encounter. According to the Cole World rapper, he first met Kendrick when he gave the TDE emcee props after he performed during an album release party for former Hip Hop duo U-N-I.

“His version of how he met me is gonna be different…But my first recollection was there was a group who’s now disbanded called U-N-I from L.A. who I was real cool with. Still am cool with. So, they had an album release party in L.A. at this little lounge…They rockin’ the mic and they call up this kid…I didn’t even hear the name,” Cole revealed. “I just was looking and somebody started rapping. As soon as he started rapping I’m like ‘What the fuck? This nigga’s hungry. Hungry.’ You know what I mean…So, as soon as it’s over, I’m the type of person if I’m feeling something. If I feel a certain way. I’m gonna let you know immediately.”

Video of J. Cole speaking on his relationship with Kendrick Lamar can be found below (via D Dot Omen).

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