Cole says he's not preoccupied with numbers.
J. Cole isn't power tripping over his sales triumph against Kanye West, he's focused on the next big win. In an interview with Noisey promoting his involvment in the Splinter Cell: Blacklist videogame, Cole talked about outselling 'Ye, feeling like he hasn't done enough in rap and taking on negative critiques.
"I only get brief moments to appreciate things," he explained. "I might get a two-minute thought of like, 'Wow you really did sell more than Kanye. You currently have sold more records than Kanye West's [Yeezus] album, which came out the same day.' Then I'm back to focusing on what's next."
Cole famously moved up his Born Sinner release by a week to compete against West's Yeezus unveil. Although both albums debuted high, 'Ye took the top spot with 327,000 copies sold in a week, narrowly edging out Born Sinner at 297,000 units. A week later, Yeezus saw a more than 80 percent drop, as Cole's release went on to peak at No. 1 and has sold a total of 599,000 copies compared to West's 537,000.
But numbers aren't important in Cole's world. "I don't live for the accolades," he said. "I'm more so about the music. Making it, and putting it out. Those are the two best feelings."
Even with "Power Trip" going platinum, and the positive reception from his "Crooked Smile" single featuring TLC, the 28-year-old isn't quite satisfied. "I don't wake up every day like, 'I got a great status in the rap game. No, I feel behind. I don't feel like I've done enough."
He's also not immune to criticism, especially the long-running critique that his music is more of a boring bedtime story than anything else. "It's funny, but it's sad," Cole continued. "Everybody has their own style of music that they like. I could never let that affect me in the way I make music. The people who like Soul Plane are probably gonna think Shawshank Redemption is boring. It's not the end of the world."
One thing the Roc Nation star should be proud of is his What Dreams May Come tour, which kicked-off to a sold out crowd of 4,000 earlier this month. The jaunt wraps up Nov. 2 at an undisclosed location.
This weekend, Cole will hit the I Heart Radio Music Festival in Las Vegas.
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(Photo: Michael Buckner/Getty Images)