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Hello, My Name Is J.

| September 30, 2011

Q&A with J. Cole

IE: I know you were born overseas, but had you traveled much before the Rihanna tour?
J. Cole
: Oh yeah, on my own tours for two years at least. Growing up I was kind of a military brat. But after coming back from Germany as a kid, I never traveled much.

IE: Do you speak any German?
: No, no.

IE: You could have German versions of your songs, like The Beatles did.
: [Laughs]. Nah, nothing like that.

IE: Being the first signing on Jay-Z’s label, do you feel the burden of expectation?
: I’m ready for that. I don’t think there’s any greater expectations of me than what I have for myself.

IE: What were the biggest differences between working on Cole World and your mixtapes?
: I didn’t need anyone to give me a date. I would just do it. I set my own date, put all the songs I wanted to put on there . . . more freedom. You don’t need a single to sell it.

IE: How much trust/faith was put in you? Or did you feel you were being watched?
: It was both. There was patience and trust, but also a feeling like, “Are we really letting this kid do this on his own?” I felt a lot of that. There was a lot of freedom, but also like “maybe I’m doing the right thing.”

IE: What kind of an impression are you trying to make?
: I want to show that I can make a cohesive album with a sound you can play front to back – so it remains true to who I am, and also explains who I am. There’s moments on there like, “That’s what I love him for,” but also, “Wow, no one else is doin’ this.” All of that in an album you can play front-to-back, and not skip one song.

J. Cole’s Cole World: The Sideline Story (Roc Nation/Columbia) is out now. He plays House Of Blues on October 9th. Q&A by Steve Forstneger.

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