Chatting with Billboard, the 30-year-old rapper talks about his battle with depression, a lack of recognition, social media and so much more.
Read excerpts from his interview below.
On depression: I grew up with the outside world meaning the most to me. This is in hindsight – I’m trying to figure out why I’m this way. I rely on the people’s opinions, because I don’t have much outside of that. I constantly work my a** off and I’m not in these magazines – all I can go by is the people and what they say… So what do you do when you’re busting your a** and taking pills to stay up and be able to provide the right energy, and you’re not seeing the proper response?…My confidence was shot, so I’d be taking whatever to keep me in a good mood, to get me in the right mood for an interview. I’m not going into the details as to what I was taking, but there’s definitely something for that… Or something you can pour in your glass. I was depressed not being where I wanna be in my career when I’ve put the work in. I wasn’t sleeping. I was drinking all day and I didn’t have anyone to go to. I couldn’t fight it. Those are some of the demons I talk about on the album.
On his girlfriend’s miscarriage: We tried for a long time to have a child. And when she finally did get pregnant, she miscarried at 10 or 11 weeks. I was visualizing my child’s face. We gave it a name and everything. All of that went away. And a couple of months before that, one of my closest friends died in a car accident, a cousin that was there for me through blood, sweat and tears.
On the role of social media: So I go through all that and I go online and some white kid is saying, ‘You dumb n**ger, you’ll never be as good as J. Cole.’ You put all that together.
On his mother: All these rappers, they do songs about their mothers. I’m Nigerian — my mother didn’t encourage me to do this. Even when [my first album] Attention Deficit came out and I had kind of made it, most parents would have been like, “My baby did it!” but I don’t have that. My mom didn’t come to my [youth football league] games. I posted a football picture on Instagram the other day. That was my f***in’ rec’ coach on my [high school] senior night. My mom didn’t come to that. I can’t even explain to my mom what my job entails. She just knows that all of her bills are going to be paid. I didn’t have one-on-ones with my mom or dad. I was in juvenile facilities a lot. My point is that I grew up with the outside world meaning the most to me.
Photo Credit: Getty Images