J. Cole has matured a lot since his early days in the hip hop industry. Recently, he made an appearance on “The ETCs” podcast where he talked about his mental evolution throughout the years, specifically in relation to his competitive approach toward rappers from his generation.
During his conversation with co-hosts Kevin Durant and Eddie Gonzalez, Cole admitted that his competitive spirit previously stifled the progression of his relationships with both Drake and Kendrick Lamar.
“These are the guys that push you, and you gotta push them,” said Cole. “I was so competitive early on that, like, even though we were all friends, I’ve never been a reach out. I’ve never been that person, especially when it’s competition involved.”
“It’s almost like working out together. ‘Why would I work out with this nigga? I’m trying to destroy this nigga.’ That was kind of my mentality early on,” he explained. “But as I’ve gotten older, I realize that no one is truly my peer or can relate to what I’m going through in life more than these people right here – just in terms of whatever pressures there might be… Nobody can really relate to that like these dudes, and I really genuinely fuck with these dudes.”
With age, a few years in the game and a potential retirement, Cole — who is still a bit competitive — is now more focused on strengthening his bond with Drake and Kendrick.
“I’m more interested in the genuine relationship,” Cole told “The ETCs” podcast. “Before I was interested in the competition. Before I was just interested in putting pressure or responding to pressure… It’s just less competition in my mind ’cause niggas is old, bro.”
“It was always a respect thing,” he added. “Now it’s just more of a wisdom thing where it’s like, ‘Yo, you can never have it all.’”