J. Cole Explains How ‘The New Jim Crow’ Inspired Him To Not Rap About Himself

The Fayetteville representative sat down with Ryan Coogler and Marshawn Lynch on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

(AllHipHop News) J. Cole is known to use his celebrity status to bring light to concerns like police brutality, mass incarceration, and the socio-economic gap. The emcee born Jermaine Cole incorporated those topics into a lot of his artistic work. 

Apparently, the Dreamville Records head main a turn towards social issues in his music after reading The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. While taking part in the MLK Now panel on Monday, Cole spoke about how Michelle Alexander’s non-fiction book and moving back to North Carolina helped inspire him to stop rapping about himself in his rhymes. 

“[The New Jim Crow] was mind-blowing. It was everything we saw and see but just put into factual evidence of what was happening,” said Cole during the discussion with Black Panther director Ryan Coogler and NFL running back Marshawn Lynch. “It happened to coincide with a time after the Forest Hills Drive album – a time in my life where I was just tired of rapping about myself.” 

The Grammy-nominated musician added, “So much of my career, my art was storytelling from my own perspective. I always would give you little branches of somebody else’s perspective, but so much of it was my personal journey, my personal growth, my personal flaws, this, that, and the third. And it was a time period when that was not interesting to me.”