J. Cole, Roc Nation's first signee, is all raw potential at this stage. He has spoken to the streets via high-profile mixtapes that include his own beat production, and his clean-cut playboy rhymes, exhibited in "In the Morning" and "Work Out," are ready for a pop audience. In anticipation of tonight's performance opening for Rihanna, we caught up with Jermaine Cole and discussed a wealth of topics in this week's main music feature.
One aspect that we can expand up on here is his aspiration to become more than just a rapper and handle production for other artists. Even if he's never heard of English garage producer MJ Cole -- we asked -- the well-spoken St. John's University grad has clearly given his future a lot of thought.
What do you think about building your own stable of artists and a label?
That's what excites me the most,
reaching out to my fans productionwise, finding new artists. On that
route -- like on Kanye's route. Productionwise, I think I'm more going
the route of Timbaland, because Kanye was an incredible producer; he
crafted a lot of that Blueprint sound. Then he would do a lot of stuff
for other people. He had a Janet Jackson single in there, a Ludacris
single. I want to do that too. Then he did John Legend -- that whole
project -- and he had heavy influence on that, but I always loved how
Timbaland did it. How he would just find a young artist like Missy [Elliott] and
Ginuwine and Magoo. He would just craft their songs through his
production so it was like a whole new thing, like every song on Missy's
album was a Timbaland beat. It was such an ill sound. I always wanted to
do that. I'm currently looking. I've got my eyes peeled. It's not my
highest concern right now; I'm just kind of planning for the future a
little bit. I'm superexcited to be able to build a label, produce
entire albums from the same group of artists, same group of writers.
Rihanna "Loud" Tour, with Special Guest J. Cole. 7:30 p.m. Thursday,
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