J. Cole: Opening for Rihanna Tonight, Producer Extraordinaire Tomorrow?

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,

July 14, at BankAtlantic Center, 1 Panther Parkway, Sunrise. Tickets

cost $58.75 to $98.75. Click here.

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