J. Cole Talks Speaking Out On Social Issues, Capitalism Being "Paid Slavery" & Not Dissing Eminem
(AllHipHop News) The Fayetteville native is now in full promo mode for his critically acclaimed third studio album 2014 Forest Hills Drive. Cole spoke with Power 105’s Angie Martinez about the project and other subjects related to the Roc Nation rapper.
One of the matters brought up during the Q&A was Cole’s willingness to speak out on relevant social issues like the police killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. The “Be Free” performer admitted he was reluctant to touch divisive topics early in his career.
“For the past four or five years of my career, I’ve always been very politically correct… I’m a nice guy. I don’t want to offend nobody,” said Cole. “But at the end of the day, I realized I’m doing myself a disservice and I’m doing people a disservice. If I’m speaking my mind and saying how I truly feel, I might say one thing that connects the dots for somebody that might have been the right connection that was needed to do something to change the world.”
Later in the interview, Cole was asked what changes he would like to see happen in society. His response included a reflection on America’s capitalistic economic system.
“It’s an ‘every man for himself mentality.’ It’s a ‘I gotta be on top. For me to be on top, I gotta have a bottom,'” added Cole. “I don’t know the alternative. I don’t even know if it exists. I don’t think we’ve evolved to something that exists yet, but capitalism is just paid slavery. It’s the same set-up as slavery. The only difference was slaves weren’t getting paid, but it’s the same set-up. I own this plantation. You are at the bottom. I got some managers right here that oversee the field.”
According to Cole, that system does not work anymore. In his opinion, it is a selfish way of thinking that does not benefit the majority of the people. Cole also took issue with the entertainment business, the media, and other industries for putting profits over the well-being of the population.
Cole also made it clear his much talked about song “Fire Squad” was not a “diss” to Eminem or any of the other artists named on the track. The lyrics mentioning Em, Macklemore, Justin Timberlake, and Iggy Azalea’s adoption of “Black music” were seen as controversial by some observers, but for Cole it was just an artistic examination of the shift taking place in Hip Hop.
“That has nothing to do with dissing Eminem or any of those people,” explained Cole. “That part of the verse is an observation – me just making an observation of culture right now.”