"I never thought about stopping the chase, but I thought about, like, man, maybe I'm in over my head. He [my landlord] would always say, I see. I know. I believe. You gonna make it."
"Like, I'm not from another country, but I might as well have been. I'm from a world that's so different from New York City . . . I'm from Fayetteville. Every other rapper is from New York, Atlanta, Toronto, Chicago, L.A., Miami. These are cities with a million-plus people."
"I didn't sell drugs, not gang affiliated, went to college. I'm not supposed to be here. So I'm gonna beat even more odds."
"This album freed me up, allowed me to release it through writing about it . . . When we finished Born Sinner, I cried, I was so happy with the shit. Happy tears."
"Another shot of Henny so I'm faded askin' how long do this drug called fame be lastin'." – J. Cole
"As musicians and artists, we are celebrating our humanity . . . It really is music and art that bind culture together."
"Fame is a part of success when you are a musician . . . and the attention is not necessarily pure. Sometimes it is that people need some kind of idol. Do I believe that's right, that we idolize human beings? No, I don't. But is that a part of it that I don't control? Yes, it is."
"Life is all about context. I think we're all born pure, but we're not born perfect."
"Life is all about how you respond to adversity. Meet my homie from Queens, Kevin Ogletree #85" – J.Cole
He had to hide his football pads from his grandmother: "It was just too physical, just too much for her heart."
"There's a lot of distractions going on in New York City – girls, drugs, alcohol. You name it and you could find it in New York . . . It's tough out here in this world."
"My partna say that’s just the game my ni**a, swear I heard my jeweler say there go your chain my ni**a." – J. Cole
"You see the Roc-A-Fellas, the Bad Boys – you see those crews and you're like yo, we could do that."
"We got one of the best rappers in the game . . . The whole thought was, man, anything's possible."
"All of us have so much more confidence in what we doing, and what we believe in."
"I believe in New Legends. So many times people are so married to the proven greats that they are too slow to recognize the next. Kendrick is like my cousin from Compton, California. I have a lot of love and respect for him that stretches back to when I met him a few years ago; unsigned and hungry and incredible. I could see it right away. New Legend" - J. Cole
"My moms told me the moment they drove me from the hospital, I was in the back seat, and my pops was playing Big Daddy Kane . . . Me listening to gangsta rap coming up was like vivid stories of a lifestyle that I was seeing every time I went outside. So me as a kid, I looked at it as, these people are basically writing in journals. I caught that early on."
"When I listen to people like Cole, it's that gift. Entertaining can only go so far."
"It's a different type of temptation when the spotlight is on you, know what I'm saying? That right there, that really defines your willpower and how strong you really are."
"Far from the richest rapper, but my biggest personal achievement thus far in my life has been retiring my mom early from her job at the Post Office. It's a tiny payback for the sacrifices she made that allowed me to chase a far-fetched dream of becoming a successful artist. I'm forever grateful." – J. Cole
J. Cole was born in Germany and raised in North Carolina. His mother, a military veteran, spent her career working for the Post Office. It's a tough job, she says: "I've had so many people say, 'Oh, all you do is ride around all day.' I am constantly moving. I'm lifting or twisting or walking or stepping up. It's constant movement."
"You know what, honey? I've got five deliveries left, forever."
"I don't have to deliver mail anymore! It just hit me."