The story of Fayetteville-kid-turned-Dreamville-icon J.Cole is one for the books, and he’s never been shy about sharing his humble beginnings before becoming the worldwide hip-hop rap icon and Roc Nation prodigy he’s known as today.
According to a story from one of Dipset’s big threes, Jim Jones, one moment from those humble beginnings happened right in the studio when he rejected Cole as a label signee and all because of what he deemed a tangential comparison to Drake.
Jimmy visited the hosts of A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal to share some of his latest music and business updates when the conversation landed on label signage. In February 2017, the East Harlem emcee clinched a deal with Roc Nation, which is owned by Cole’s current label leader, hip-hop mogul and former Dipset rival, Jay-Z. But back before he was Cole’s label mate, he passed on him for a number of reasons.
“J. Cole didn’t have a team when he came to me,” he corrected. “He didn’t have a team, it was just J. Cole rapping. Little light-skinned kid coming to the studio everyday rapping like Drake.”
Capo said that there was already one Drake, and “n**gas didn’t know” what to do with that. They couldn’t prototype another version of the same rapper, he clarified. He believes, however, that years later, Cole has finally found his place.
“He ain’t rapping like Drake no more,” he said, “but when he was in my studio, he was.”
Interestingly enough, Drizzy and Cole are good industry friends and have formerly collaborated on-wax together, but have never quite been compared to the degree that Jim did. Either way, Cole’s current hip-hop success is forcing quite a few people to eat their words, both past and present.
Listen to the full conversation below.
(Photos from left: Prince Williams/WireImage, Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images)