J. Cole & Lil Pump Interview: Key Takeaways
A breakdown of the most unexpected interview of the year.
Two weeks ago, J. Cole sat down with Angie Martinez during the Rolling Loud festival. During the interview, Cole expressed his willingness to meet Lil Pump. He noted that he was aware that Pump was at the festival as well, and he wanted an opportunity to meet him. His words did not sound threatening, nor was Cole being sarcastic. He was genuinely interested in meeting the man whose fans couldn’t stop chanting “Fuck J Cole.” Somehow, Cole made it happen.
When DJ Akademiks first announced that Cole and Pump interviewed each other for a short segment, fans of both artists were in shock. When’s the last time you heard of a feud ending with each rapper interviewing the other? Probably never. A few days after Akademiks announcement, the interview hit the web. At moments, the sit down between Cole and Pump feels awkward. While Cole spends most of the interview in a state of genuine curiosity about Pump, the “Gucci Gang” rapper seemed out of place. His usual energetic vibe is missing, instead replaced with a timid yet sharp young man. It’s a side of Pump that isn’t broadcasted daily, and it was refreshing.
The generational divide has never been clearer. At one point during the interview, Cole mentions that he was headed to college in NYC in 2003, when Pump was just three years old. At that moment, it becomes clear how much of a difference a generation makes. Pump missed the era before the internet when kids were forced to record their favorite songs off the radio with a cassette player. He missed “Ether” and the Def Jam empire. Tupac and Biggie were just murals in his neighborhood, heroes that he never got to see in the flesh. It seems like Cole keeps all these things in mind when trying to connect the dots, and understand the motives behind Pump’s actions.
The hour-long sit down is enlightening for fans of either rapper. While there are people who feel as if neither Cole nor Pump needed to do this, those people are incorrect. The hype of hip-hop beef and feuding is pointless, although entertaining. Bridging the generational divide and keeping the culture viable is a much more important goal. Each rapper left with a better understanding of each other, and of their fans. After bypassing the faux feud and meeting each other on a mutual level of understanding, Cole and Pump left fans with several takeaways from their interview of each. Here is our list of the most important pieces of their conversation.
Lil Pump states that Chief Keef, 50 Cent, and Ludacris had a great deal of influence on him growing up. Those rappers’ more aggressive and outlandish methods are what drove Lil Pump to create the type of music he does today. On the opposite side of the hip-hop spectrum, Cole reminisces about writing his first rap after Tupac died. Young Jermaine felt the loss of his first hero, and vented his frustration through rap.
Pump was kicked out of school
Lil Pump explains to Cole that he was first kicked out of school in 7th grade for smoking weed. After struggling for a few years, Pump was expelled in the 10th grade for fighting. It was during this time that his best friend Smokepurpp helped Pump venture into the music field, and the rest is history
Both Pump and Cole are close with their mothers
Most J. Cole fans know that the “KOD” rapper is very close to this mother. The song “Apparently,” a single off Cole’s classic album 2014 Forest Hills Drive, shows just how much Jermaine loves his mother, Kay. Pump reveals that he is also extremely close with his mother, and that he takes her with him when he travels. He also explains that his mother is an immigrant from Colombia, and that she came to America when she had his older brother. Pump’s father is also Colombian, but the couple split when the “Gucci Gang” rapper was only six years old
No love for their step-dads
J. Cole revealed in a prior interview that his alter ego, kiLL Edward, is named after his stepfather. Cole wanted to kill off any piece of himself that reminded him of his stepfather. While fans of Cole have known about the rapper’s dislike for his stepfather for years (he rapped “If a plane crashed and it only killed his lame ass, I’d be glad it’s that n***a” on “Rich N***az) it was interesting to hear Pump express similar feelings for his stepdad. Cole, in his early 30s, seems more resolved in his emotions about his mother’s former lover, but Pump is still filled with acrimonious thoughts
Lil Pump has slowed down on his drug use
J. Coles most recent album KOD took shots at the drug-fueled culture in hip-hop. Lil Pump, who is famous for being at the center of that culture, admitted to seeing the dangers of drugs during their interview. He reveals that after seeing his friends and peers steer themselves down undesirable paths because of drugs, he has backed off certain medications himself. Pump admits that he stopped taking Xanax months ago
The “Fuck J. Cole” chant
The question on everyone’s mind while watching this interview was, “when will Cole and Pump talk about the ‘fuck J. Cole chants.'” When Cole finally brings up the topic, a little over halfway through the interview, you can tell it’s a conversation that he and Pump had previously. Pump explains that the infamous chant started as comments on his social media page. The disparity between die-hard Pump fans and die-hard Cole fans led the former to take to social media to troll the KOD rapper. Pump admits to following the trend, and that he was never serious about having any ill feelings towards Cole.
Pump’s reaction to “1985”
Pump admits that he only recently listened to Cole’s “1985 (Intro to “The Fall Off”)” track. In case you missed it, “1985” was Cole’s answer to internet trolls and druggie rappers that he felt came at him first. “I’m hoping for your sake that you ain’t dumb as you look/ But if it’s really true what people sayin’/ And you call yourself playin’ with my name/ Then I really know you fucked, trust,” raps Cole on the record. While hip-hop fans took it as a direct attack on Pump and Smokepurpp, Cole revealed in earlier interviews that it’s an “if the shoe fits” situation. In this interview, Cole claims that he didn’t want to say any names, but wanted the track to speak for itself and that he had multiple enemies that could fit the lyrics. Pump states that he was tagged in posts for weeks, and that his friends tried to get him to listen to the song for a while before he finally gave in. As he stated in the past, Pump asserts that he was thankful for the clout, but he was never really angered by the song
J. Cole on the new school of rap
The generational divide in hip-hop may be the number one reason for beef at the moment. The younger guys feel like their elders are missing their message, and the lack of communication goes both ways. While rappers like Lil Pump may not put Tupac or Biggie in their top 5, older rappers see that as blasphemous. During the interview, J. Cole reveals that he watched XXL’s Freshman Class freestyle a few years back, and felt like hip-hop was lost. He admits that his dislike for the new school was based on the fear that the music he was raised on was dying, or being left behind. Cole states that he moved past his resistance to the new school and realized he was “trippin.'”