Rap rookie J. Cole is reacting humbly to his Grammy nod. In an interview with LA Times' Pop & Hiss blog, the North Carolina native shares how surprised he was over the nomination.
"I wasn't thinking people had seen what I had done, so I had already kind of prepared myself for the letdown. But it caught me off guard," he said. "It would be incredible to win. That's an understatement… since I didn't even expect to get nominated. But I'm not walking in there with the attitude that I'm the guy [to beat]. But if I won, I'd know why. And if I didn't win, I'd understand."
The BET Music Matters artist attributes his success to a number of things outside simply the quality of his debut album Cole World: The Sideline Story.
"I don't think it was one thing," he explains. "I think it was a combination of putting out quality projects like mixtapes that sounded like albums. We only call them mixtapes because they are free. And I've been touring for two and a half years straight. I just put the album out two months ago. I already had a strong foundation of fans, I just wasn't sure that they would buy the album."
J. Cole's competition includes The Band Perry, Scrillex, Nicki Minaj and Bon Iver.
Like a proud father, Jay-Z, who made Cole the very first addition to his Roc Nation label in 2009, says that he shouldn't be worried because Colle's already a winner in his eyes.
"I think it's great for him," Jay said of Cole's Best New Artist nomination. "Because I'm sure it's a dream of his. We grew up seeing Michael Jackson, and I'm sure he grew up seeing whatever moment stuck in his mind, so I know it's great for him to do that. I think he's already won Best New Artist, to me. His journey is what I'm really excited about."
The Grammy Award ceremony will air live from Los Angeles on February 12 at 8 p.m.
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