Specifically, the Dreamville Records superstar opened up about how he was “hurt” after hearing the accusations of domestic abuse that surround the current stories involving Nas and Kelis.
“I ain’t going to lie. That hurts,” J. Cole tells Billboard‘s Dee Lockett. “It feels weird because I f*ck with Nas, but I just have to be honest. I came up seeing too much f*cked-up shit for that to be acceptable. I don’t care who it is. I don’t f*ck with people abusing women, and I don’t f*ck with people not taking care of their kids.” As recent as this past August, Cole also rapped over a previous Nas record.
Even though Kelis’ allegations of Nas’ violent behavior left a mark on J. Cole, he appeared open to lending his own support to XXXTentacion — another controversial rapper who faced similar claims. Cole talked to the Florida artist for around “three hours” this past February after X’s management reached out to him and requested an exchange via phone.
Cole says, recalling his talk with XXXTentacion:
He started off the conversation literally on some, like — he didn’t even say hello. He started off basically saying, ‘I’m not on your level yet.’ He was talking about spiritually and mentally, and that was intense because I was like, ‘Huh? I’m not on no level.’ He was praising me while also saying he was going to achieve whatever it is he felt that I had. I’ve dealt with mentally ill people in my life before, many of them. And right away, I notice that this kid is super passionate and smart, but I could also see that he was so deep in his mind.
Upon learning of XXXTentacion’s own troubled past, J. Cole’s initial reaction was to help.
My first response was, ‘Man, I hope maybe one day I’ll get a chance to talk to this kid and figure out if there’s any place that I can help.’ Because anybody who would do the shit that he did … Hurt people hurt people. I’ve walked through prisons and talked to these dudes who got life. They took someone’s life at 16 or 17 years old. You haven’t had the chance to process your trauma at that age. I’ma be sympathetic to a kid who has clearly been through so much f*cked-up shit that he inflicted this on someone else.
Turning to the political spectrum, J. Cole also revealed that he didn’t vote in the 2018 U.S. presidential election — despite public support for Hillary Clinton. Cole didn’t look at Clinton as a figure “that was motivating” him to the voting booth and expounded upon his remarks by voicing his support for her Democratic primary opponent Bernie Sanders.