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‘Born Sinner’ Series by J. Cole

J. Cole, Born Sinner Series

Sharone Poole

"Born Sinner, was never born to be perfect" – J. Cole

To celebrate the release of his second album, Born Sinner, J. Cole launched a weekly conceptual series honoring the people who have been most influential in the rapper's life. Rolling Stone has exclusive photos to augment the series.

j. cole born sinner

Sharone Poole

J. Cole

"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."

j. cole kay cole

Sharone Poole

J. Cole

"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."

j. cole born sinner

Sharone Poole

J. Cole

"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."

j. cole born sinner miguel

Sharone Poole

Miguel

"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."

j. cole born sinner kevin ogletree

Sharone Poole

Kevin Ogletree

"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."

j. cole born sinner kendrick lamar

Sharone Poole

Kendrick Lamar

"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

j. cole born sinner kendrick lamar

Sharone Poole

Kendrick Lamar

"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."

j. cole born sinner kendrick lamar

Sharone Poole

Kendrick Lamar

"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."

Kay Cole and J. Cole

Sharone Poole

Kay Cole

"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

Kay Cole

Sharone Poole

Kay 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."

In This Article: J Cole

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