J. Cole recently stepped out of his comfort zone to shoot and interview for a cover story for GQ. In addition to rocking various name brands like Hermès, Bally, Dries Van Noten, and Isabel Marrant, we also got snapshots of Cole’s private life.
Photographed by Awol Erizku, the photoshoot featured Cole up close with a lynx in various outdoor settings including a forest, and a boat floating on a lake, in addition to shots in a house and on various colored backgrounds. It took place in North Carolina during the NBA All-Star Weekend where Cole also graced the stage with a live performance for the half-time show. This is definitely a side of Cole we have not seen, and in regards to stepping out of his comfort zone, he says:
“I realize, like, memories come from getting out of my comfort zone—great memories.”
Aside from the photoshoot, Cole has definitely been in the spotlight more. Another part of stepping out of his comfort zone includes his features with various rappers over the past years including 21 Savage, Offset, Jay Rock and many others. Previously known for going platinum with no features, Cole has since realized the value in collaborating with other artists:
“I’ve reached a point in my life, where I’m like, ‘How long am I gonna be doing this for?’ I’m starting to realize like, oh shit—let’s say I stopped this year. I would feel like I missed out on certain experiences, you know? Working with certain artists, being more collaborative, making more friends out of peers, making certain memories that I feel like if I don’t, I’m gonna regret it one day.”
In addition to his music, Cole also opened up about his very private personal life. Cole is married with a toddler, and recently bought a new spot in New York City. He opens up about how fatherhood has changed his life:
“For a while, I felt a little weird about it. Like, nah. I felt, ‘Did I miss something?’ ‘Cause I didn’t feel the change that people talk about. And then I figured out what it was. I changed my life in order to get ready to have a family and to have a son. I literally changed my life, where I was living, the things that I was doing. I changed. So because of that, when my son came, I was ready. I already made room.”
As his Dreamville music label continues to expand, Cole discusses his reputation and how it has carried onto his label’s artists. He states:
“I’ve been so secluded within myself that people think I don’t like anybody, that I won’t work with anybody. It’s a reputation that’s been extending to my artists, too.”
J. Cole also discussed the fact that he has not won any Grammys, nearly 6 albums into his career. He says that winning a Grammy off of his first album would have caused him to “fizzle out” and not reach the pinnacle that he is at now. Acceptingly, Cole states:
“I’m not supposed to have a Grammy, you know what I mean? At least not right now, and maybe never. And if that happens, then that’s just how it was supposed to be.”
The article aired on GQ‘s website this past Monday. Check it out for more information on Cole’s private and music life, as well as some stunning shots by Erizku.