Kendrick Lamar has nothing but good things to say about J. Cole and 2014 Forest Hills Drive. Speaking to Hip Hop Wired, the 27-year-old Compton native congratulated Cole on the new album and gave an update on their forthcoming joint project.
“That’s my brother, man,” Lamar said. “To see that he did exactly what he said what he was going to do — and me believing in what he was going to do — is just confirmation that good people will always be blessed.”
Cole's release, which had no lead single and was announced about a month ago, is expected to fetch 300,000 in sales the first week, becoming the top-selling rap album of the year. Instead of label-curated listening sessions, interviews, and promo stops, the North Carolina rapper went directly to his fans, inviting them over to hear the album (he even dropped by one fan's house to give her a personal listen), and dropping by Best Buy earlier this week for an impromptu album signings.
“When you look at the game today, it’s so contemporary,” Lamar noted.
The TDE rapper, who, like Cole, benefited from a large underground following before he was more widely known, elaborated on how corporations and record labels are eager to latch on to “kids that have raw talent” for a quick return. Artist development has suffered in the process, he said. “By Cole doing what he’s doing, it puts the artist development back in the business, where the music speaks for itself. It’s overwhelming man, and I love it. I respect that dude not only as an artist but as a person. He’s a great person, he deserves everything he’s getting.”
With Cole’s project out and Lamar’s nearing the finish line, the two can finally etch out time to release the joint project they teased two years ago. “This is probably the situation where we obviously have albums coming out at the same time so that ideal project may be a little bit more realistic, now that we both out of the way with the albums,” Lamar said. “I’m in the process of finishing up, and his album is crazy, so we have that space and time to actually do what we do.”
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(Photos from left: Kevin Winter/Getty Images, Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for American Eagle)