J. Cole Emerges From Hip Hop's Sidelines - TheGrio.com
But the 26-year-old North Carolina native is confident those opinions will change when his debut album Cole World: The Sideline Story is released this week.
"They say you...got your whole life to work on your first album," Cole told theGrio's Todd Johnson. "I got songs on [here] that are four years old, I got stories on there that are longer than that. It just means that much to me."
Cole, whose rap moniker is a shortened version of his first name Jermaine, has built a huge following based on the success of three previous mixtapes.
In 2009, he became the first rapper signed to Jay-Z's label Roc Nation -- and even features the hip-hop legend on the album track, "Mr. Nice Watch."
"I wouldn't even say [it was] a dream come true because I've never dreamed that...it didn't even feel possible," Cole said of his relationship with Jay-Z. "It's a huge blessing to be able to have him a text away or a call away..."
Check out the entire interview HERE