[artist id="3216320"]J. Cole[/artist] is considered by many to be one of hip-hop's greatest hopes, alongside fire-starter newbies like Drake, Nicki Minaj and Wiz Khalifa. But while the Fayetteville, North Carolina, lyricist and onetime [article id="1642816"]Hottest Breakthrough MC[/article] contender hasn't yet experienced the same level of fame as his contemporaries, Cole isn't letting his peers' buzz intimidate him.
When Cole stopped by the MTV News crimson couch for "RapFix Live" on Thursday (January 3), a fan asked the spitter via Twitter if Drizzy, Nicki or Wiz's success puts pressure on him. The Warm Up MC coolly maintained that he's staying focused on his own career.
"It's motivation, it's not pressure. The reason why it's not pressure is 'cause I think I've always been blessed with an understanding that everybody's path is their own. The first one out of that list that they asked for is Drake, and I was getting that question from early on, like, 'Drake's blowing up, do you feel any type of way?' Naw, that's his. Obviously, because it happened, that's his path. Like his monumental rise, that's his path," he said. "I don't let anybody else's path make me feel any type of way about mine. I'm confident in the way that my career is going. I feel like I'm setting up ... a career of longevity. Not saying that anybody else isn't, but I know for me, this works for me."
Cole also opened up about his relationship with Drizzy, with whom he's often been compared since the two started out the gate in a similar timeframe. The lyricist said the duo are far from rivals and added that music rarely rules their close friendship.
"I think it's just an escape from that," Cole explained to MTV News' Sway when asked if the two ever got into ciphers when they hit the road together. "We on tour, we rapping every night. It's not that type of relationship, I can put it like that. It's more of a friendship for real, like beyond the rap. [It's not] like, 'Aw, man, what you got? What verse you got?' It don't feel like that. Just last night, Kendrick [Lamar] was in New York, and I told him to come by the studio. And even with him, it's like, 'Yo, hear this, listen to this!' With me and Drake it's ... more laid-back," he said. "We can talk about just other things rather than what verse you got."
However, Cole maintained that the two don't sidestep freestyle sessions to preserve anyone's ego. They're just not the types to go bar-for-bar when they're simply shooting the breeze.
"I don't even think it's avoiding it. It would be no reason to avoid it. That wouldn't seem natural. There's certain dynamics, there's certain relationships," he explained. "If Drake was to be like, 'Yo, What you got? Spit something.' ... I just wouldn't feel right."
And Cole made it clear that he and Drizzy stay out of each other's faces lyrically because they want to — not because he feels he wouldn't own the Toronto MC, or any rapper for that matter, in a cipher.
"I feel like if I battle anybody in the world, it doesn't matter who it is, I feel like I'mma win," he said confidently. "You could really ... insert [any] legend, and I'mma be nervous, but I'mma feel like I can do it. It's no disrespect to nobody."
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