Part of J. Cole's charm is that he keeps a safe distance from the tabloids, choosing to stay out of the spotlight and keep his personal life as private as possible, especially now that he is a father.
During a rare in-depth interview with the New York Times, the emcee opened up about why he chooses to maintain a low profile.
As revealed during the profile, the 32-year-old recording artist talks about how his choice to stay out of the public eye didn't come without a bit of an internal dialogue.
"The other side, it’s what we grow up believing that we need and want," he explains. "It’s everybody’s dream. Who doesn’t want the pick of the litter on this, that and the third? Money, women, cars. And beyond all of that — which I really wasn’t into — praise."
Cole then shares how he feels rising to fame also comes with its own fair share of negative emotions, such as inital fear and addiction.
"It’s addictive," he adds, discussing the limelight and how he has his own reservations about it. "To recognize it, it was the first step. I had to recognize, well, where’s the fear coming from?"
Additionally, during the interview, the Dreamville emcee also touches on his forthcoming HBO documentary, crafting a hit record and if he feels pressure to diss other rappers.
When touching on the documentary, Cole explains how listening and observing is a central theme of the project.
"I felt like it would be mad powerful for black people to see Black people talking to each other," he explains. "And you see a rapper who’s considered one of the biggest in the game, just listening. These are people that never get to be heard, by the world or even by each other."
"If I'm listening, why can't you listen?" J. Cole concludes, further inspiring his fans to do just that.
Be sure to check out the exclusive feature in full here and make sure to consult your local listings in order to view J.Cole: 4 Your Eyez Only as it officially debuts tonight (April 15) on HBO.
(Photo: Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images for The Meadows)