Offering up a rare interview, J. Cole graces the cover of SLAM Magazine’s June/July 2021 issue.
The Dreamville artist has been giving us varsity bars since he came into the game, drawing the parallels between his come-up in rap and the NBA. While Cole’s often mentioned in the list of rappers that could hoop, the upcoming release of The Off-Season will be a new body of work to bridge the gap between athletes and entertainers.
Ahead of his debut as a player on the Rwanda Patriots BBC in the inaugural season of the Basketball Africa League (and the release of his next album, The Off-Season), Cole World chopped it up with Brandon “Jinx” Jennings about striving for greatness while starving off complacency, his past, present and future in both hoops and rap, and the parallels between both paths.
“The Off-Season symbolizes the work that it takes to get to the highest height. The Off-Season represents the many hours and months and years it took to get to top form,” Cole says. “Just like in basketball, what you see him do in the court, that shit was worked on in the summertime. So for an athlete, if they take their career seriously and if they really got high goals and want to chase them, the offseason is where the magic really happens, where the ugly shit really happens, where the pain happens, the pushing yourself to uncomfortable limits.”
“It represents the practice, the training, the drills, the intensity, the craft. It represents pushing yourself,” he continues. “Even if all of the songs and the verses that were made during that time period can’t make The Off-Season, the project still embodies all of them. Once you get to the season, it’s too late to get better. You’ll get better naturally, but what you know is what you know. You’re getting that shit off in the offseason. So that’s really what it represents. It represents the time spent getting better and pushing.”
Check out the full interview here.