When you're a parent struggling to raise your kids right, the last thing you often want to hear is unsolicited advice from celebrities. But what if it's really good advice—and it's from J. Cole? In that case, we’re all ears. And you should be too, because the self-proclaimed best rapper alive recently dropped some free game in an excellent, wide-ranging interview with Golden State Warriors GM Bob Myers.
The hour-long sit down for Myers’ ESPN series Lead By Example mostly covered Cole’s sky-high aspirations and how a healthy degree of delusion helped him chart his trajectories in basketball and music. The Grammy winner spoke about how envious he is of those who haven't succumbed to hustle culture and are content with a modest job and a family to come home to. "It's a blessing to be satisfied," Cole said, "to be at peace."
Soon after, when asked what futures he might hope for his two sons, Cole got into it. "I just want you to cut down the time… the thing that I learned at 30, I hope you can learn at 15 or 16… learn the lessons that can lead you to peace quicker."
Some dads want their kids to excel at sports, academics, or business. J. Cole says he simply wants his kids to struggle less with "your peace and your comfort and your confidence" and get there at an earlier age than he did.
Cole says he had a little of that coming up, but it was "always attached to something" external rather than him finding that kind of peace and happiness inside. "Everything after that is just a bonus," he points out, "once you just enjoy life on a content level, it's just a bonus."
It’s worth noting that Jay-Z—an idol and mentor to Cole—verbalized a similar desire for his own then-unborn-son back in 2011, on Watch the Throne, his collaboration album with Kanye West. “Took me 26 years to find my path,” he raps on the song “New Day.” “My only job is cut the time in half.”
While J. Cole has notably shielded his family from the public eye, he’s opened up about his experiences with fatherhood in songs like “Heaven’s EP” and “l e t . g o . m y . h a n d.” He also covered the topic in a piece he penned for The Players' Tribune called “The Audacity.”
Peep Cole’s interview with Myers above—it’s a worthwhile watch, even if only for an unbelievable anecdote about the life lesson he gleaned after smoking cigarettes as a very young child. Peace to Latarian Milton!
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