9 Things We Learned From J. Cole’s Angie Martinez Interview

[Via NecoleBitchie.com] As mega rap stars go, Drake and Kanye West are always being thrown around in articles as being the voices of the millennial generation. But that title may honestly belong to J. Cole, as we learned after watching his emotional performance of “Be Free” earlier this week on Dave Letterman, and again during a recent interview with Angie Martinez.


The North Carolina rapper/activist sat down with the Power 105.1fm radio host last week for a lengthy, yet, informative and eye-opening interview that may have rubbed some people the wrong way. (Truth always does). In the insightful convo, Cole shared his thoughts on today’s rap climate and being tired of rap music that influences kids negatively.

He also spoke on capitalism and broke down how “the system” keeps people oppressed, while explaining that anyone who works a job that they hate, just to survive, is enslaved.  The current whitewashing of rap music and its culture, his disdain for reality TV, and how he found happiness in learning to appreciate his blessings were all things that he spoke passionately about in the lengthy interview.

Watch it, plus catch a few things we learned below:

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1. Most people are too distracted to advocate anything these days

J. Cole: “People at the top, love the fact that everybody is so busy with themselves and their own lives that they don’t have the time to stand for something or fight for something. Even somebody like me, who in college, I was President of the Black Student Union, we were holding meetings every week. It wasn’t a lot of action but we were talking discussing ideas, talking about the world, and what can we do. It was a little bit of action in our minds of what we thought but even somebody like me who was a little bit more aware,  graduates College and it’s like, “Oh man, I gotta pay my bills now. I got to get this deal before my time runs out.” Life happens, and you worry about all this stuff and you don’t have time to fight for anything anymore. You don’t even have the time to even care. “I got my own kids; yeah this man died but I got bills and twitter is popping right now. Instagram is hot and Love & Hip Hop reunion is on.” It’s like they love to distract you and keep you occupied while they molest and milk the world. They love it…they love us!”


2. Rap songs that push materialism are tired

J. Cole: It’s amazing [what you can do with music.] It’s the most powerful thing. It’s even just as powerful when they don’t use [music the right way]. It’s just the wrong type of power. It’s just as powerful; we don’t notice it because we can’t see but it’s just as powerful. It’s just using its power the wrong way.

When I was younger, it didn’t matter. Now, I’m sick. I’m tired. It’s not cool no more. We’ve been singing the same song for 30 years. These dudes are portraying a lifestyle that A, they probably didn’t live. B, even if you did you don’t no more, but you still trying to milk us, feed us this and sell us this. You still trying to pump this lifestyle so that kid somewhere is like, ‘that’s what I want too.’”

3. People who have a platform and don’t speak up on social issues, are doing a disservice:

J. Cole: “I’m just living my life but sometimes I do feel like I’m looking around and I’m like do you expect this guy to say something? Do you expect this guy to do something? I understand that I’m doing myself a disservice and I’m doing the people a disservice for all the years, [when I don’t speak up.] I’ve always been very politically correct. I’m a nice guy; I don’t want to offend nobody but at the end of day I realized, I’m doing people a disservice because I can say one thing that connects the dots for somebody that might be the right connection that was needed to want to change the world or something.


4. The love of money and materialistic things is the root of all evil:

J. Cole: There’s no amount of money that will ever make you stop, if money is all you care about. You’ll keep going; oh, I got a million. I got to get 10. Got 10. Gotta get a 100. Got to get 5. Got to get a billion. If it’s cars, you’ll never have enough cars. If it’s women, you’ll never have enough women. You’ll be chasing them forever. If it’s success, you can never get enough of that. I realize that, it doesn’t stop. It keeps calling you; it’s like a drug. It’s a hamster wheel. You’re never satisfied but if you place your importance on this, which is like appreciation….LOVE. That is enough. It’s enough of that in everybody’s life right now if they just took the time to look.


5. Hip Hop may be all-White in the next 20 years and we are witnessing the transition now.

J. Cole: “To give you an example, I just was looking for new music the other day, maybe like a month or two ago and I was like, ‘I just wanna go listen to some jazz. I just wanna know what’s jazz sounding like right now?”

So I went to the iTunes jazz page and I was like -ohhh! It hit me! the entire page of iTunes jazz is 99.7 percent white people on the jazz page!

Now, somebody might be like ‘So, whats the big deal?’ It’s fine. Anybody can do whatever music they want. It’s art, it’s whatever. But you have to understand, jazz is a Black form of music in its origin and not only that, it was the hip hop music of its day. It was that much of a rebellious [culture], it wasn’t just music, it wasn’t just traditional, it was just freestyle. It was just purely Black. It was hype. Whether it was Coltrane or Miles Davis, it was purely a Black form of music.

So now 50, 40 years later, however long its been since jazz has been commercialized, it’s just crazy for me to see that that page is all white. And it hit me- even before- this is the point in time where you see that switch in hip hop. You’re literally watching it right now.”


6. Most reality TV is trash

J. Cole: “Trash [TV]. I can’t watch it. I’m going to tell you the truth; it’s like Worldstar Hip-Hop. If it’s on, please believe its drama so it’s entertaining. It’s drama at the lowest level of entertainment you can have, it’s trash but it is entertainment and drama. This is corrupting people and people don’t even realize. Like, “It’s just on TV, it’s just entertainment.” Okay, but where’s the balance? Where’s the other ones? What other shows do you watch? Not even do you watch because I don’t want to put it on you. What other shows do they show you that can counter this, or is this all you get. It’s like the music. What  music can counter this right now and don’t name me or Kendrick [Lamar] because it ain’t enough and we just got here. So what was happening before that? All that stuff is trash.”


 7. If you are being enslaved by working a job you hate, you could be considered a sell-out too.

J. Cole: “I don’t just mean people that’s pimpin’ themselves out on TV, or just selling their bodies. I’m talking about people that go to a job everyday that they hate. You sold out too. We’re all sell outs. You’re going to something that you don’t like?  Why? So you can live and survive. To me, life don’t feel like it’s supposed to be like that no more.It don’t feel right.

It feel like somebody time gotta be worth more than $8 an hour. So you spend your whole day going to work, eight hours out of your day, the day is only 24 hours. You sleep eight of those, so that’s 16 hours. Half of your day is making $8 an hour. Even if you get $15 an hour and they’re trying to raise minimum rage to what, $15? Okay, but I got to do it. I got to work. I got to eat. [It’s like being] on a plantation man.”

8. He Rides A Bike. ( All the cars, jewels and material things he once thought he wanted, don’t mean anything to him anymore )

J. Cole: “I sold my car. I had a Range at one point, but I sold it. I ride a bike now thru Manhattan. I don’t have a car. No more car.

[My jewelry] is still there. and I wear it . But I got it for the wrong reasons. It don’t mean nothing. It don’t really mean nothing and it didn’t mean anything when I got it.

I hit the point in my life where I’m a grown man and I’m questioning why did I want it? And then, what did it do for me when I got it? And it’s cool to have whatever, I’m not judgmental at all. Have your things. But don’t place value on them. it’s just a thing, it’s not real. It’s not real. Love is real.”

9. When your life is built on appreciating and being grateful for the things you do have, that’s when happiness becomes attainable:

J. Cole: “It doesn’t sound big but it’s big. Appreciating everything. Right now, I’m making sure I’m taking the time [to appreciate everything that’s happening to me.] There’s no guarantee that you’re going to get this back and I took that for granted on the mixtapes and the albums. I was just so caught up in my career. Where am I at? What are they saying about me? They’re not going to put me here? They’re going to leave me out, word? Alright, I’m going to show them.

What I realize is the monetary, the material and even the success the things you place your importance on, can never satisfy you or make you happy, because they never end.

In my life, I just took the time to look around people that’s around me, and the things that’s are around me as blessings. And that goes for everybody.  The homeless man on the street can wake up and go “man, I’m alive. I got my limbs, I got my fingers. My man just gave me a dollar and he ain’t have to do that.” He has things he can appreciate and if we look at those things for happiness, then it’s attainable. If we look for the other things for happiness then it’s never attainable.

We’re placing our importance as a country, on the wrong things.  We’ve let this system of the world tell us that these things are important, the new. Oh, you got the flat screen joint but you ain’t got the 60 inch joint. You got the 60 inch joint, but you ain’t got the 60 inch 3D. It’s exhausting and tiring, but the world tells us that.”

Read more:  Necole Bitchie.com: A Few Things We Learned From J. Cole’s Angie Martinez Interview http://www.necolebitchie.com/2014/12/8-things-we-learned-from-j-coles-angie-martinez-interview/#ixzz3MBAVXdYC

Briea is a small girl from Chicago with big dreams. Born out of her passion for media and blogging, Girlmuch.com was launched in 2009.

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