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.”
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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.
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[Additional reporting by Datwon Thomas]