On Monday, The Player’s Tribune published an editorial by rapper J. Cole, who opened up about how his highly competitive nature and his lack of confidence, stopped him from collaborating with other artists in the industry.
“The first thing that rushed to my mind was the missed opportunity of community,” Cole said of the conversation he had with himself about mingling with other rappers. “A combination of a competitive ego mixed with a deep fear of rejection had kept me from collaborating with peers that I respected all of these years and prevented me from building real friendships with them. I had spent my career closed off. I didn’t want that to be the case forever.”⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
He continued, saying, “Four years have passed. In that time I’ve been blessed with two sons, learned the delicate art of balance between parenthood and career, had the pleasure of working with a ton of talented artists as a featured rapper, spent 10 magical days recording a Dreamville album in Atlanta, and put a lot of time and energy into sharpening my sword and growing as an artist.”
While he may have kept his distance early on, Cole recently made himself available to other artists by way of his Dreamville’s Atlanta base, which he opened up to just about any rapper that wanted to appear on “Revenge of the Dreamers III.” He also made guest appearances on songs by Gang Starr and Young Thug.
Cole also spoke on holding himself to unrealistic goals, including his extreme desire to become the greatest rapper alive. Following the success of his 2014 project “Forest Hills Drive,” Cole felt as if he had achieved this feat and was left unmotivated to create new music. However, after returning to “Mohammad’s crib,” where he resided before his deal with Roc Nation mogul Jay-Z, the North Carolina MC was able to push himself to complete “4 Your Eyez Only,” which motivated him to go even harder on his forthcoming album, “The Fall Off,” which he hints could be his last album.
“A long term plan of becoming the best rapper I could possibly be before hanging up my jersey, leaving nothing on the table when all was said and done,” he wrote. “The seeds for The Fall Off were planted.”