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The Vibe.com Cover Story: J. Cole - "[The Girls] Scream And Go Crazy Like I'm Drake"

***We know, we know—two months is too long to wait for VIBE to hit your local newstand. So as a supplement, we'll highlight a celebrity making an impact as the VIBE.com cover story every Tuesday. We're going with Hov's choice for our first cover subject: Roc Nation's flagship rookie J. Cole. Check out the exclusive interview below as well as photos and an essential playlist.***

 

Nas is known to fumble a verse or two. He’s got a million. So if one of hip-hop’s most prolific doyens recites a rap line other than his own, the possessor must be someone special. Right, J. Cole?

In the inaugural VIBE.com cover story, Roc Nation’s increasingly respected 24-year-old draft pick talks debut details, Drizzy, and ditching groupies. —Tracy Garraud


VIBE: Everyone knows how important first singles are. Why was “Who Dat” the one?
J. Cole: First it was all feeling, just the sound and excitement behind it. Instead of shooting for an obviously commercial song, I love [“Who Dat”] because it’s really about the beat and the raps and not much more. It’s an introduction to those that were unfamiliar and also something for my fans to brag about as opposed to hearing it on the radio and being like ‘Ehhh.’ I also thought it was real ill, that I’m rapping on that the way I used to always rap… raw, aggressive. Those used to be the only raps I wrote, but as I get older, I barely do those anymore. It’s kind of interesting because the rest of my album is so far from that. That’s probably one of the only braggadocios raps, maybe one more. Everything else is conceptual storytelling with substance and meaning. Putting that out first, kind of reflects my growth as an artist.

This is also the first song from you where all the blog comments weren’t immediately positive—they were a bit polarizing. Were you surprised? 
I kind of knew. Just from seeing other people, not even necessarily people from the blog era, you kind have to pick your strategy and go with it. People automatically look at the word ‘single’ different, especially ‘first single’. But I don’t pay attention because I understand that that’s going to happen for the rest of my career. As much as I would love to have everybody in agreement like ‘J. Cole’s the truth, everything he’s doing is perfect,’ I totally understand that that’s not realistic. No rapper in the world from Jay-Z to Tupac to Biggie has 100 percent love on everything they do. These people’s opinions for the most part are valid, but I don’t stress it. I just do what’s in my heart.

True life. Are you shooting the video soon?

Next week, [me and BB Gun are] going to Fayetteville to shoot it. I have to stay loyal.

Nice. Is this something where you’re having a bunch of locals involved?
Yeah. I want it to be a surprise for the city.

What were Jay’s words when he first heard the single?
He liked it a lot, said the beat reminds him of a Biggie's "Hypnotize." I believe him. That’s why they call him Hov [laughs].


"The craziest thing that's happened is girls asking me to sign their breasts, but there hasn’t been any wild backstage stories."
When I first interviewed you last year, you said your conversations with him were limited. Has that relationship changed?
Now it’s more… I think his brain is in the same boat as mine. He’s really in executive mode like, ‘How can we take this kid to the next level. What do I need to be doing as Jay-Z to help this kid.’ I can see that all in his moves.

Is an August release really what it’s looking like? 
I haven’t been given a date, but that’s what it seems like. It could be September, who knows. I just throw that out there because of the way this single is going. 

Do you have an album title?
Yeah, but it may change next week so I don’t want to put it out there yet. Fans keep saying, 
Cole World and The Blow Up, but neither of those are it. Four months ago I was sold on one, but it restricted me a little bit. And I was smart about it because I didn’t go shout out the title as soon as I had it. I know how the game works and people don’t really understand that I have the right to change my mind. 

You’ve been on a lot of other people’s tracks, but it’s usually not the reverse. Is that changing for your debut?
Right now there’s really no big features on my album and I plan on keeping it like that. I kinda like the idea of having an album that’s all me. If I do a feature, I want to do it because I really love it, not because they’re what’s hot now. I want to do a track with Rich Boy, even though his last single to blow was a couple years ago. But I still want to work with him because he has an incredible rap style. I could be like Jeezy’s on fire, let me get him, but that’s not how I operate. If I do a feature it really has to make sense, not that I don’t want to work with Jeezy, because I would love that, but you know [
laughs].

About a month ago, Drake mentioned the possibility of you jumping on a Thank Me Later bonus cut. Fact?

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George Floyd Died From Homicide By Asphyxiation, Independent Autopsy Finds

George Floyd was asphyxiated to death from “sustained forceful pressure” that cut off blood flow to his brain, according to an independent autopsy performed by medical examiner Dr. Michael Baden and Dr. Allecia Wilson.

The 46-year-old father died from “homicide caused by asphyxia due to neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain,” civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump announced on Monday (June 1).

“Sustained pressure on the right side of Mr. Floyd’s carotid artery impeded blood flow to the brain and weight on his back impeded his ability to breathe,” reads a statement posted to Crump’s Twitter account. “The independent examiners found that weight on the back, handcuffs, and positioning, were contributory factors because they impeded the ability of Mr. Floyd’s diaphragm to function.”

The autopsy also found that Floyd “died at the scene” and not at a hospital where he was pronounced deceased.

Fired Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin was filmed jamming his knee into Floyd’s neck ass he lay handcuffed on the ground, pleading for air. Two additional officers were helping to apply pressure to Floyd's body, while a fourth officer stood and watched. Chauvin was arrested on third-degree murder and manslaughter charges last week. The other officers, Thomas Lane, J Alexander Kuen and Tou Thao, have not been arrested.

“For George Floyd, the ambulance was his hearse. Beyond question, he would be alive today if not for the pressure applied to his neck by fired officer Derek Chauvin and the strain on his body from two additional officers kneeling on him,” Crump said. “Mr Floyd’s death was a homicide by officers who taunted him while holding him down for more than eight minutes. And the officer who stood by doing nothing was a physical blue shield — a living symbol of the code of silence.”

Floyd’s family ordered the private autopsy after the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office claimed that his death was caused by pre-existing health conditions.

“What we found is consistent with what people saw. There is no other health issue that could cause or contribute to the death,” said Dr. Baden. “Police have this false impression that if you can talk, you can breath. That’s not true.”

Global protests continued to call for justice in the murders of Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other victims of police brutality and racial violence.

Read the full autopsy statement below.

 

Independent medical examiners determined #GeorgeFloyd’s death was due to asphyxia from sustained forceful pressure. Full statement: pic.twitter.com/cIbWu8ssWX

— Benjamin Crump, Esq. (@AttorneyCrump) June 1, 2020

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Prince Williams/Wireimage

Killer Mike Gives Emotional Speech Urging Peaceful Protests Amid Unrest In Atlanta

Killer Mike joined T.I., and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms in delivering emotional pleas to discourage ATLiens from burning the city as protests broke out on Friday (May 29) in response to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and countless victims of police brutality.

“I don’t want to be here,” began Killer Mike. “I’m the son of an Atlanta city police officer, my cousin is a police officer…I got a lot of love and respect for police officers down to the original eight [Black] police officers in Atlanta that, even after becoming police, had to dress in a YMCA because white officers didn’t want to get dressed with ni**ers. And here we are, 80 years later and I watched a white officer assassinate a Black man and I know that tore your heart out. I know it’s crippling and I have nothing positive to say in this moment because I don’t want to be here.”

The Atlanta native went on to share background on his family’s involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, and other social justice issues. “I’m duty-bound to be here to simply say, 'It is your duty not to burn your own house down for anger with the enemy.’”

In what turned out to be another viral moment, Tip called Atlanta “Wakanda” while imploring demonstrators not to destroy the city. “Atlanta has been here for us, this city don’t deserve that. I understand that a lot of others do, but we can’t do this here, this is Wakanda. It’s sacred. It must be protected,” said the 39-year-old rapper.

Mayor Bottoms simply told protestors to simply “go home.”

“Above everything else, I am a mother to four Black children in America, one of whom is 18 years old,” she said. “When I saw the murder of George Floyd, I hurt like a mother would hurt. Yesterday, when I heard there was a rumor about violent protests in Atlanta, I did what a mother would do: I called my son and I said ‘where are you?’ I said ‘I cannot protect you and Black boys shouldn’t be out today.’ So you’re not going to out-concern me, and out care about where we are in America.

“I wear this each and every day and I pray over my children each and every day. What I see happening on the streets of Atlanta is not Atlanta. This is not a protest. This is not in the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. This is chaos.”

WATCH: "If you love this city, go home!" https://t.co/c8cPBZLATJ pic.twitter.com/v9IEBVoXpB

— WSB-TV (@wsbtv) May 30, 2020

At the request of Mayor Bottoms, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp issued a state of emergency in Fulton County, and deployed 500 troops from the state's national guard.

They will deploy immediately to assist @ga_dps, @GaDNRLE, @GA_Corrections & local law enforcement who are working tirelessly to subdue unlawful activity & restore peace. We will continue to make all state resources available to local leaders during this emergency situation. (2/2)

— Governor Brian P. Kemp (@GovKemp) May 30, 2020

See Killer Mike's full statement below as well as photos and video of the protests.

A powerful scene in Atlanta right now, this gives me chills. pic.twitter.com/SK7oOvzs8g

— Everything Georgia (@GAFollowers) May 29, 2020

More shots from Atlanta tonight pic.twitter.com/TmUmW5nXxZ

— kieron (@kieroncg) May 30, 2020

The chief of police in Atlanta talking and listening to everyone that has something to say#ATLFORUS #AtlantaProtest pic.twitter.com/qirbQRgViU

— Lilly - BLACK LIVES MATTER (@joonhopekook) May 29, 2020

It’s not just Minneapolis, we are now seeing protests in cities across the country over the death of George Floyd. This is in Atlanta as some smash the glass at our downtown CNN headquarters. #GeorgeFloyd pic.twitter.com/iwJxFaUfxW

— Omar Jimenez (@OmarJimenez) May 30, 2020

Police cars getting literally destroyed in Atlanta outside the CNN Center pic.twitter.com/x5zRxZVQpb

— Fernando Alfonso III (@fernalfonso) May 29, 2020

Downtown Atlanta right now.... PEACEFUL PROTEST ! #BlackLivesMatter ! pic.twitter.com/6nejzqccVE

— KP 🦋. (@kailynnlee) May 29, 2020

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Breonna Taylor’s Family Vows To Continue Fight For Justice: “Please Keep Saying Her Name”

Breonna Taylor must not be forgotten. The family of the 26-year-old EMT who was shot and killed by Louisville police officers in March, released a statement encouraging peaceful protests and the continued fight for justice.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear read the statement from Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, on CNN on Friday (May 29).

“Breonna devoted her own life to saving other lives, to helping others, to making people smile, and to bringing people together,” the statement reads. “The last thing she’d want right now is any more violence. Changes are being made, but it’s not enough. We will not stop until there is truth, justice and accountability. Breonna’s legacy will not be forgotten. And it’s because of all of us saying her name and demanding justice. We are saying her name more each day. Thank you.

“Please keep saying her name. Please keep demanding justice and accountability, but let’s do it the right way without hurting each other. We can, and we will make some real change here. Now’s the time. Let’s make it happen.”

Seven people were shot during a protest for Taylor in Louisville on Thursday (May 28). The shooting victims were treated and are in stable condition, according to Louisville Mayor Greg Fisher. Fisher also reposted a video message from Taylor’s family urging peace amid the protests.

A message from Breonna Taylor’s family urging protestors to be peaceful, go home and keep fighting for truth. pic.twitter.com/if5MH5UcCW

— Mayor Greg Fischer (@louisvillemayor) May 29, 2020

On March 13, 2020, Louisville police officers kicked in Taylor’s door without warning and opened fire. Authorities claim that they were executing a “no-knock” search warrant stemming from an alleged drug investigation involving another man who did not live in Taylor’s home, and had already been arrested.

“Police just unloaded 25 to 30 rounds, I mean they’re shooting from the front door, they’re shooting from the window, they’re shooting from the patio,” attorney Benjamin Crump told Essence on Friday. “They’re so reckless, they shoot a bullet into the next door neighbor’s apartment where their five-year-old daughter is asleep in her room. “They didn’t even have to come in her [Taylor's] apartment. They already had the person they were searching for in custody.”

Taylor’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the LMPD accusing the department of excessive force and gross negligence. In wake of Taylor’s murder going public, LMPD has changed its policy and will now require no-knock warrants to have a police chief’s signature. The department also made it mandatory for LMPD officers to wear body cameras.

A 911 call made by Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, after the shooting was made public on Thursday. “I don’t know what’s happening somebody kicked in the door and shot my girlfriend,” Walker can be heard saying through tears. Police arrested Walker for shooting at cops whom he assumed were robbers. The charges were later dropped.

Listen to the emotional 911 call below.

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