J. Cole Reveals Why He Wanted to Compete With Kanye West


J. Cole stopped by On Air with Ryan Seacrest to chat about his recent success and why he decided to move his album release date up so it would compete directly with Kanye West.

The rapper revealed that his new hit single, “Crooked Smile,” holds a special meaning to him. “I was going through this period on a tour bus where I would just write the name of a song and the song wouldn’t exist yet. It was just the idea and concept for a song, and one day I just thought of the title, ‘Crooked Smile,’ and instantly knew that’s huge because I’ve had this smile forever … we call it snaggletooth where I’m from.”

J. Cole, whose first name is Jermaine, adds: “When I was a kid, it was something I had to deal with and my mom would always tell me, ‘Boy, I’m going to get you some braces.’ But she could never afford them … but I knew if I could take that concept of being insecure about something your whole life and show the world I could make fun of myself and make light of it because it doesn’t matter and it doesn’t make me who I am.”

“Crooked Smile” also features TLC, a long-time favorite of J.Cole’s. “I had the first tape,” he tells us of the girl group. “I remember laying in front of the radio [listening to their tape.]”

And although his single has been out for some time now, fame hasn’t yet hit the “Work Out” rapper. After we played “Crooked Smile” in our studio, J. Cole was blown away and admitted, “I just had a real moment … I’ve heard it on the radio before, but just now listening to it and realizing that it’s playing on the biggest radio station on the biggest morning show and really listening to what I’m saying and knowing that people out there that maybe haven’t heard those words before are hearing it, it’s like I’m appreciating it so much more remembering what I had to go through to make it.”

And when it comes to making it, the 28-year-old admits he wanted to compete and see where he stood with fellow rappers, like Kanye West. J. Cole admits he moved his Born Sinner album release date up to compete directly with Yeezus.

“I had my date already it was June 25 and then all of a sudden I started hearing Kanye West dropping the album, he just tweets the date, and at first I wasn’t thinking about it … but then when I realized it’s real and it’s confirmed, instantly I thought, ‘You’ve got to go to his date.’ … Because I’m a competitor and I’d love to know where I stand next to Kanye West right now at this point in my career … another thing is – I’m not going to have a Kanye West album drop and all the hype and hoopla happens and then my album drops a week later like an after thought I want people to compare side by side … I want to give myself a fair shot.”

But he wants to make it known he has no beef with Kanye. In fact, he admits he’s a huge Kanye fan and has more than respect for the guy.

For information on J.Cole’s What Dreams May Come Tour, click here.

Sadao Turner / Ryan Seacrest Productions

Sadao Turner / Ryan Seacrest Productions