North Carolina rapper J. Cole may not have watched fellow artist Kanye West’s hour-long interview with BBC Radio 1, but the Carolina wordsmith did comment on the interview based on a handful of clips he did manage to see.
While speaking on Ye’s interview, Cole defended the G.O.O.D. Music rapper’s right to say and do what he wants and specifically referred to Kanye and other artist’s “poetic license.”
“I think there’s no rules. You can say what you want,” said Cole. “You know what I mean? Like you can say what you want whether you want to press people’s buttons or whether that’s how you really feel. That’s your poetic license. Is to test people’s boundaries. That’s the only way we still know we have boundaries. If nobody says something that makes us go ‘Wait a minute. I’m not fuckin with that. I’m not fuckin with him bringing Jesus on stage.’ Well shit, you didn’t know you had a boundary until he did it. You know what I mean? So, as an artist I respect him for pressing that button and making you react a certain way. You know what I mean? That’s amazing.”
Cole continued to speak on Kanye and the double standards he feels exists when it concerns the rapper and music in general. The Born Sinner crafter even went on to question why fans are okay with someone rapping about murdering people, but are up in arms when someone is actually killed.
“Nobody has a problem with the nigga that caught 1,000 bodies on his record,” he said. “Nobody’s up in arms about that…But yet when somebody actually gets murdered. When niggas actually get murdered in Chicago or a police officer actually kills somebody, now you have a problem. So, you don’t have a problem with the man that just told you he killed somebody on his record. Not that I care cause I listen to it too, but you right, it’s funny the things we pick and choose to care about. Or you only care when the police officer kills a young, black male, but you don’t even give a fuck when a young, black male kills a young, black male.”
The Dreamville representer’s comments on Kanye were followed by Cole sharing his thoughts on dumbing down his music. He revealed that he’s past that point in his career and also spoke on artists including Kanye and Jay Z dumbing down their music for fans.
“I’m past that. You go through it though,” said Cole. “Because when you’re a student of the game and you study what works you see what works. And when we say ‘dumbed down’ I don’t mean become dumb. Dumbed down is actually being smart. It’s being smart. And I’ll give you an example…He’s [Kanye] writing lines that he knows are so simple for you. He’s not trying to go over your head. He’s putting it on a platter for you. He’s setting you up. Jay Z is the same dude that used to rap like this ‘badaddada.’ Reasonable Doubt was the most intricate shit, but he learned ‘Man, let me feed it to the people better.’”
This summer, J. Cole found himself competing directly against Kanye when both Born Sinner and Yeezus were released in June. Although Yeezus initially out sold Born Sinner in first week sales, Cole’s sophomore effort would later go on to outsell Yeezus.