Interview: Lute Signed To J. Cole While Working At Walmart

North Carolina’s newest addition to J. Cole’s Dreamville imprint is still soaking it all in. Lute was actually working at Walmart when he received a random Twitter DM from Cole, who was more than excited to meet with the lyrically gifted emcee. The loving father’s realistic portrayal about his struggles as a new dad and the adversity he faces as a young black man in America caught the ears of the Billboard-chart-topping-rapper by chance.

“I didn’t even think Cole was going to hear my project to be honest with you,” recalls Lute. “I was working at Walmart and [Cole] said he was in Florida and a guy was asking him about the music scene in North Carolina, and he [recommended] Lute. So he was like ‘I’m go do my research.’ [Cole] found [my music] on 2Dopeboyz and Youtube.”

READ: Dreamville’s New Artist Lute Documents His Journey In New Short Film

Lute says the Dreamville founder actually messaged his friend first because he wasn’t following Cole on Twitter at the time, thus making him unreachable. However, after a brief exchange he was invited to the rapper’s studio in North Carolina where they made an instant connection.

“I was so caught up in my struggles — trying to pay bills, keep a roof over my head and feed my daughter that I [wasn’t] realizing I have a helluva of a story to tell right now. So I was like I’m going to give it one more try, before West 1996 Part 2, I was done with music because it was like ‘yeah we’re getting buzz, but likes and re-tweets and ain’t paying my rent.’

Stay tuned for more from Lute’s exclusive interview with VIBE.

READ: Dreamville’s Lute & Earthgang Spit Real Facts On New Song, “Premonition”
[Additional reporting by Datwon Thomas]