J. Cole may know how to school fans with profound lyricism, but North Carolina’s quiet storm is just as much a perceptive note-taker.
Highlighting his recent UK tour with peer and pal Drake as one of the most propelling experiences of his career thus far, Cole also says he learned a key lesson while observing the Toronto spitter’s solo sets: “Seeing 5,000 people cheer for [Drake] was really motivating and [it] helped me take notes on what works for the European crowd,” he says.
“They love melody. So for the real melodic Drake verses like, ‘I am on a 24 hour, champagne diet. Spillin while I’m sippin, I encourage you to try it’—they love. Cause you gotta think in Paris everybody doesn’t speak English, but everybody speaks melody. So it’s really about how they can sing [along] as oppose to what you can say.”
In addition to the language of melody, Cole says he’s become more aware of the importance of visual aids. While his album enters fine-tune mode, Cole plans on expanding his presence with more videos to accompany tracks from his third and most keenly penned mixtape, Friday Night Lights. Fans can expect the BBGUN-directed video for “It In The Morning” to arrive Valentine’s Day, but also expect some other vids in the near future.
“I’m going to LA to shoot a couple more videos. I’m realizing how important the visuals are. I haven’t been really up on it, just because of time. Like if I’m not on the road I’m tryna finish the album and not really thinking about nothing else,” he explained.
“I want to shoot]videos for “Enchanted,” and “Higher” because that’s such a big song at the shows… really it could’ve been a single. I wish I wouldn’t have slept on that. With a few tweaks, it could’ve been out of here. But yeah ‘Enchanted,’ ‘Higher,’ and I don’t know, I definitely want to do more. More is the key word.”
And for all those fearful that the 26-year-old’s debut project may be thoughtlessly back-seated by his boss’ much-anticipated collaborative album, Watch The Throne, with Kanye West, Cole says dead your worries: “It's totally not—it's not connected like that. One doesn't take from the other. Let's just say I'm a big priority over there." —Tracy Garraud