Lights Please backstage with J. Cole at Lollapalooza

On site with MC J. Cole at  Lollapalooza.

Q. So are you excited about what you are about to make happen here in Chicago, Illinois?
A. Absolutely man, you know...I'm ecstatic!

Q. What can the crowd expect to see in your live show?
A. A lot of vicious raps.  A lot of confidence and stage presence.  And you know-some really good hip hop music.

Q. So where are you from?
A. Fayettesville, North Carolina.

Q. How did you get started in this whole rap game?
A. Well, I started rapping at 12 years old.  Started making beats when I was 15 years old.  And when I was 18yrs old I moved to New York trying to get a rap deal-and also went to St. Johns University.

Q. Where'd you get the courage to up and move from such a small town to the Big Apple?
A. Man, I have no clue where I got it from.  Probably from my mother who fooled me into thinking I could do whatever I wanted to do.  So I actually tried it out.

Q. What did you study at St. Johns?
A. Communications.  I knew what I was there for(a rap deal) and I didn't think I would have to finish school-I thought I was going to get signed before I even graduated.

Q. Who are some of your musical influences?
A. Tupac, Jay-Z, Nas...Eminem, Cannibus, Andre 3000-Outkast and know-the greats.

Q. After you got to New York you got signed by Jay-Z's label, how did that happen?
A. Yeh, Roc-Nation-this happened through Mark Pitts who was Biggie's manager
(who also signed Chris Brown and Ciara).  He played Jay-Z one of my songs called "Lights Please" and that's how it all started.

Q. How did Mark Pitts find you?
A. Well, that's a whole 'nother story.  That's from years and years of me knocking on people's doors and somehow my music wound up in his office.

Q. Now you know and Chris Brown look alike (you could be cousins)?
A. Ha, ha...that's my homeboy too.  But yeh-I know, it's that tall light skin thing.

Q. I like the fact that you graduated from St. Johns and got your papers.  How do you feel about that?
A. I'm honored.  I feel good to have my degree-you know what I'm saying.  Nobody can take that away from you.  It's nothing but a good thing.

Q. How do you define the music you are producing-what's happening?
A. There's definitely a message.  It's both entertainment and a message.  I try to blend both of them together.  A strong message of us as individuals along with the entertainment of rap-that's what I do.




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    Eric Eugene Smith

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