"J. Cole is by far one of the most popular rappers in the United States of America, but for some reason it seems like he never really gets the credit he’s due. The fact of the matter is that J. Cole makes smart, accessible pop-rap in a landscape that rarely rewards such a thing. Though he’s signed with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation and openly and honestly operates within the pop-rap idiom, J. Cole is an auteur in a landscape where major rap albums are assembled by committee. On the eve of a visit to speak at Harvard, J. Cole came to the VICE office to talk to me about his life before fame, his Illuminati decoder ring, and how he finally feels like he’s sounding like himself."
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