J. Cole's heart is bigger than his mouth. In a new video promoting his upcoming LP, 2014 Forest Hill Drive, the North Carolina-bred emcee describes the way he was drafted into his very first cypher, by accusing a fellow freestyler of biting.
“My old stomping grounds, high school, Terry Sanford class of 2003,” Cole points out in the mini-doc, as he takes viewers on a tour of his Fayetteville hometown. “My first cypher was right up there. ... I was like 5-foot-7, high-pitched voice, skinny, walked up there with the big boys."
The Dreamville founder is now on the bleachers of the football field where it all began. "A bunch of people in the cypher, and it’s two or three lines that he [one of the freestylers] rapped blatantly from my favorite rapper at the time. As soon as he said it, I was like, ‘Yo, like you bitin'. You a biter.' I said it out loud, but I didn’t realize I was saying it. I just reacted."
After that, Cole realized he'd have to step up. "... It’s like the record stopped… and everyone stopped like, ‘What you say?’ –– ‘cause, like, you know everyone wants to instigate in public. I was like, ‘Yo, he bit the whole line.’ He looked at me like, ‘You rap then.’ I was like, ‘All right, cool, I was waiting,’ but really I was nervous. I acted like I wasn’t nervous at all, though. I acted like I was mad confident and destroyed. It was over from that point forward.”
Cole's 2014 Forest Hill Drive, his third studio album is expected Dec. 9. No lead single, tracklisting or announcement of features have been made as yet. The collection is available for pre-order.
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(Photo: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Power 105.1)