J. Cole has made history for the second time in just two days.
First, he joined the Basketball Africa League to live out his dreams of playing professionally, and now he’s become the first artist to have his own solo cover on the legendary basketball magazine SLAM. Like all other cover stars, Cole takes readers through his journey and love of basketball, which began around the time he was a walk-on while studying at St. John’s University.
He’s always been one to compare his rap skills to his on-court prowess and often wondered if he was pushing himself enough in one field on the other.
“It was literally like looking at a fork in the road. OK, you can go this way and continue to grow and get better, and push yourself and still feel feelings of exhilaration when you tap into new shit and move on,” Cole told SLAM. “Or, you can go this way and live a more comfortable life that’s less inspired, less push, less stretching yourself, and getting out of your comfort zone. So yeah, it wasn’t a fear, it was a decision.”
Cole also went into why he’s naming the forthcoming album The Fall Off, which came from a solid decision of continuing to put the work in to improve his crafts– whether it be on the court or in the studio.
“First, it was the thought and the feeling, and I was looking for a phrase to sum that up. That was the birth of it,” Cole remembers. “I found the phrase in 2016, actually, early 2016 when I was working on 4 Your Eyez Only. I found a phrase, I did the hook to the song, and I was like, Oh, this is the phrase that sums up this whole chapter for me. And that’s when I started working on The Fall Off.”
Cole also spoke about the possibility of retiring, the pressures of finding inspiration and more, here.