J. Cole’s Key To Success Is Don’t Sell Your Soul To Record Labels (Audio)
2016 has been relatively quiet for J. Cole. The Fayetteville, NC MC started the year off at an apex, with a stellar concert special and documentary, care of HBO. Since then, Cole has laid low, save for his support of his Dreamville artists, like Bas.
By contrast, DJ Khaled has been on a mission to assemble the biggest assortment of Hip-Hop talent possible, for his aptly-titled Major Key album. In doing so, Khaled has brought together Jay Z, Nas, Kendrick Lamar, Nicki Minaj, Drake, Jadakiss, Busta Rhymes and countless other Hip-Hop luminaries. While the album is stacked with features, Khaled saved three tracks for solo performances, with those honors going to Drake, Nas and J. Cole. On Cole’s “Jermaine’s Interlude,” he seems to exorcise some of the demons he’s faced over the years, in battling for his own artistic freedom.
The opening lines of his first verse say it all, as he raps “Tables do turn and labels do burn. The second they ask you to sell your soul, don’t you do it, don’t you fold. Say ‘Fuck that shit’ and be bold. ‘Cause all them stories you told on records worth more than gold. And, if you never go gold again, at least you will knows the end of your road was chose by you and not companies who control our remote control.”
On his most recent album, 2014 Forest Hills Drive, Cole seemed to free himself of all constraints, releasing a project with no featured guests, very little lead time, and no “made-for-radio” single. His reward was the highest selling release of his career. That success has no doubt given him food for thought worth sharing with MCs who seek to follow in his footsteps.