Tales Out of School

On a weekday evening in January, J. Cole, the 27-year-old rapper from North Carolina whose first album hit number one and who is about to put out his second album, is at the American Museum of Natural History.

More specifically, he is standing under the brontosaurus in the lobby, posing for a picture with two teenagers who look like they are in disbelief. He is not smiling, because he doesn’t really smile when he poses for pictures. He’s wearing skinny gray jeans, very clean Nike high-tops, a Moncler beanie, a $30,000 Rolex Presidential watch, and a leather jacket with a cotton hood sewn in.

J. Cole seems a little nervous for an interview, which you don’t expect from a pop star who performs in front of thousands of people, but people have more palpable interiorities when you’re one-on-one. Walking through the museum, he glances around the Hall of Mammals, focuses on the North American bison, and mentions that he came here recently with his girlfriend and her little brother. In a room full of ancient tools, he points out that it’s difficult to enjoy a museum and conduct an interview at the same time.

A man pushing a rolling trash bin through the museum looks at J. Cole, stops pushing the trash bin, and gets his picture taken with J. Cole. He shakes J. Cole’s hand vigorously and continues pushing the bin.

Ten minutes later in the Hall of Ornithiscian Dinosaurs on the fourth floor, J. Cole seems much more comfortable. The museum is almost empty, because it’s 5:10 and the museum closes at 5:45. J. Cole stands in front of the stegosaurus.

DAVID SHAPIRO: You’re lecturing at Harvard on [February] 26th, right?

J. COLE: [excitedly] Yes!

SHAPIRO: How did that come about?

J. COLE: I’ve been planning to do a college tour since I came into the game about four years ago. I’ve always envisioned going out on the road and going to colleges, doing a half-show, half-forum type thing. We actually talked about doing a college tour as part of the campaign for this album, and right after that, Harvard asked me to speak.

Read the interview at www.interviewmagazine.com

Photography AARON STERN


Posted in Cole World, Tour
21 Comments » for Tales Out of School
  1. Ryan C. says:

    You should definitely come and speak at NCSU, that would be the dope!!!

  2. @Gene_us says:

    He called Cole a “pop star“! :( Where do they find these writers??? SMH!

  3. Robert says:

    I would like to attend one of these lectures. If you speak in Chicago let me know.

  4. Lara says:

    From a small town in NC to Harvard!!

  5. C Bake says:

    Skinny jeans? Cole, we from NC, why you let him write that???

  6. A.* says:

    You been up to no good.*

  7. S says:

    Shit, Cole. Huge stuff.

  8. Joseph Galante says:

    Cole should come to UMO. Cold as shit, but he’s got a good following

  9. jason says:

    m.youtube.com/my_account?hl=en&client=mv-google&gl=US amazing !

  10. Respect says:

    J. Cole we already no you Have a Girlfriend! So do other artist. The difference is other artist give politically correct answers. The majority of your fan base are women and you are not at a point in your career to be constantly stating that you have a girlfriend. female fans like the feeling of lusting for you and think that they have a shot with you. I wrote this because in our class seminar we discussed the subject about Cole openly talking about having a girlfriend. 23 out of 25 students agree that they don’t think he should talk about or bring up having a girlfriend in interviews because he can hurt his career because it can be a turn off towards his female fans

  11. Elizabeth says:

    Would you consider coming to a high school in Andover, Massachusetts? It would be so great, I’d absolutely love and appreciate the experience!

  12. Montrell Cruse says:

    Come back to UNC and speak. We’d love to have you again.

  13. Shannon says:

    K. Dot is coming to Wake Forest March 22nd, you should stop through. You know Carolina loves you.

  14. Kellie says:

    Come visit Jackson State University “JSU” we3 would love to have you

  15. Kellie says:

    Come visit Jackson State University “JSU” we would love to have you

  16. J. Hicks says:

    Come visit SFSU in the bay! The West Coast is waiting on your return!

  17. Brian says:

    Might as well just do a TED talks lecture while your at it.

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