If you’ve peeped the latest cover of ESPN Magazine and wondered how J. Cole linked up with Dale Earnhardt Jr., it actually all started with a random shoutout. On “Note To Self,” the final track on 2014 Forest Hills Drive where the rapper verbally lists his thank-yous, he drops a line to the famed racer, “Dale Earnhardt Jr., that shit you said to me changed my life.” Only, Cole had ever met the NASCAR star – until now. “There was an interview Dale Jr. did that asked him what he plays before races, and he said ‘J. Cole ‘Power Trip,’ which freaked me out,” Cole shares in their new story. “What is Dale Earnhardt Jr. doing playing my shit? How did he even find out about it? You don’t think somebody on that level would ever hear your stuff. From there, I never forgot.” As far as how Earnhardt Jr. stumbled upon J. Cole (like he’s that hard to find), blame it on Pandora. Once the racing star learned that the rapper was a North Carolina native, he was sold. “‘Power Trip’ was coming up on my Pandora station a lot. I found out Cole was from North Carolina, and when you like a guy’s music and you find out he’s from where you’re from, you tend to start to follow him,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “I heard he had a new album, and it started popping up on my Twitter timeline that there was this shoutout.” SEE ALSO: Review: 15 Thoughts On J. Cole’s Excellent ‘2014 Forest Hills Drive’
— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) December 11, 2014
Cole also made a point to ensure his and Earnhardt Jr.’s fans that they may have more in common than they know. Chalking any divisive notions about their unlikely-to-collide worlds up to stereotypes, he remarked that union threatens “the powers that be.” “Our worlds have a lot more in common than people want to think. Stereotypes prevent the worlds from colliding and connecting more,” he said. “The powers that be like it like that. They like it that the cultures don’t mix, because if they ever were to mix, they would realize they’re in the same boat and have a lot more in common than they have differences.” Read the full ESPN cover story featuring J. Cole and Dale Earnhardt Jr. here.