He weighed in on the 2016 election, saying that he did not vote because “Hillary Clinton wasn’t somebody that was motivating me to go vote.” (He performed at a Get Out The Vote rally shortly before the election, and appeared in a support video for Clinton alongside Beyonce, Jay Z, and Chance The Rapper.) He said that “if it was Bernie Sanders, I would’ve showed up and voted.” He went on to say:
Trust me, I hate to be a person who’s even promoting that I didn’t vote. Actually, with Trump in office, I love that America gets to see the truth. If Hillary Clinton was in office, it would be the most fucking disingenuous shit because everybody would be thinking that everything’s cool because we got an incredibly qualified female president. Which would’ve been amazing on so many levels. But all the shit we see right now would’ve still existed; it would’ve just been quiet. And I prefer this shit to be out loud. I prefer an honest America. I prefer the world seeing that, yes, we’re a country that is dumb enough — no disrespect — [that] we got duped into electing Donald Trump.
J. Cole was also asked about Nas — who the rapper has professed to being a major fan of in the past — and his recent abuse allegations by his ex-wife Kelis:
Yeah, that hurt. I ain’t going to lie. That hurts. [Pauses.] It feels weird because I fuck with Nas, but I just have to be honest. I came up seeing too much fucked-up shit for that to be acceptable. I don’t care who it is. I don’t fuck with people abusing women, and I don’t fuck with people not taking care of their kids.
Cole also talked about XXXTentacion, in the context of a tweet he sent when he died that he had “a strong desire to be a better person”:
I spoke to him on FaceTime one day in February for, like, three hours. His management reached out to Ib and asked if he could FaceTime me or call me. It was a super-intense conversation. He left a mark on me, just as a person.
[…] He started off the conversation literally on some, like — he didn’t even say hello. He started off basically saying, “I’m not on your level yet.” He was talking about spiritually and mentally, and that was intense because I was like, “Huh? I’m not on no level.” He was praising me while also saying he was going to achieve whatever it is he felt that I had. I’ve dealt with mentally ill people in my life before, many of them. And right away, I notice that this kid is super passionate and smart, but I could also see that he was so deep in his mind.
When I found out [about the abuse allegations against him], my first response was, “Man, I hope maybe one day I’ll get a chance to talk to this kid and figure out if there’s any place that I can help.” Because anybody who would do the shit that he did… Hurt people hurt people. I’ve walked through prisons and talked to these dudes who got life. They took someone’s life at 16 or 17 years old. You haven’t had the chance to process your trauma at that age. I’ma be sympathetic to a kid who has clearly been through so much fucked-up shit that he inflicted this on someone else.
Read the full story here.