J. Cole may have played a major role in Kendrick Lamar’s success.
During a recent interview with Nardwuar, the Fayetteville emcee was asked if it was he who put Dr. Dre onto K. Dot.
“Who told you that? Who gave you that piece of information?” Cole replied. “… The answer is, yes. I did. I’m not gonna say I was the first to tell him […] I was like, ‘Yo, you gotta sign this kid from Compton.”
Cole said he first brought up Kendrick while Dre was working on Detox; however, one of Dre’s team members was already familiar with the up-and-coming rapper. Dre would go on to sign Kendrick to his Aftermath imprint in 2013.
“Shoutout to Dr. Dre,” Cole said. “He made the right decision.”
Nardwuar then asked if Cole wanted to sign Kendrick early on in his career. Cole confirmed this was true, but emphasized he was not in a position to make such an offer at the time.
“100 percent. I don’t know what I would’ve signed him to, you know what I mean?” he explained. “We didn’t have our business intact, but that’s how much I rocked with him at that time. I met him, and instantly was highly impressed. That would’ve been the first artist in my mind [to sign], but come to find out, he had bigger shit going on.”
Elsewhere in the interview, which took place on the seventh anniversary of Cole’s Forest Hills Drive, Nardwuar presented the rapper with a series of gifts, including a Dilla Turntable released by J. Dilla’s estate, Breaks & Beats Spaceman doll, and a number of vinyl records, such as The Golden Sword by the Gerald Wilson Orchestra recorded in 1966; “40 Bars” by Allen Iverson, aka Jewels; and First Choice’s “Armed and Extremely Dangerous,” which is sampled on “Middle Child.”
Cole also spoke about some of Fayetteville’s most iconic spots and figures including his relationship with Eib, his passion for basketball, and his early rap days under the “Therapist” alias.
You can check out the full interview up top. EarthGang, Omen, and producer T-Minus also make appearances.