According to J. Cole, it was difficult to make his latest album, Born Sinner. The emcee recently spoke about his frustrations while making the album as well as his battles against pressure and “negative thoughts.” 

“When you listen to the album you’ll notice how it flows from darkness to light, from hell to heaven, depression to happiness,” Cole recently shared in an interview with Soul Culture. “It literally was a way out… I’m writing my way out of a negative place, a darker place.”

“When I say darker place, there’s no suicidal thoughts,” he clarified. Still, Cole says he had a difficult time fighting against negative thoughts because he never had to face them before. 

“There’s a mentality that I had that was never shaken and it was quiet, it wasn’t outspoken, it was all in [my head]. The minute that changes and now I’m dealing with a mind state I’ve never had to deal with before, which is fighting all these negative thoughts, that’s the dark place I’m talking about.”

Cole added that he faced a lot of pressure and self-doubt during the making of Born Sinner but that he kept it to himself.  

“My self-confidence kind of shattered. You know what I mean? Trying to fight against that, writing my way out of it. This whole album is writing my way out of that place. Because I had never had to deal with that before. I was a happy kid. I wasn’t a down kid. I observed life and I saw it for positives and negatives but I wasn’t a depressed child. So when I had to deal with that type of mind state I wasn’t speaking on it. So then, when I tell people, ‘You know, I was fucked up for this whole album. I was doubting myself this whole time.’ Niggas is like, ‘What? You serious?’ But it was real to me. Pressure is real. That’s why people jump off of buildings, man, and just end it.” 

More from this interview, part of the #OkNotToBeOk campaign, can be viewed below. 

J. Cole’s Born Sinner will be out June 18. He recently revealed one of the latest releases off the project, “Niggaz Know.” 

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