Back in 2019, Nardwuar bumped into J. Cole backstage at the Day N Vegas festival in Las Vegas. Cole walked up to the veteran journalist and promised to grant him an interview sometime in 2020. Due to the lockdowns the interview couldn’t happen last year, but Nardwuar finally had the opportunity to speak with the Fayetteville rapper in Santa Monica earlier this month.
During their discussions, The human serviette asked Cole if he was the person that put Dr. Dre on to Kendrick Lamar. Cole was left speechless by the question, as it wasn’t something he had revelaed to anyone in the public. “Who told you that? Who gave you that piece of information?” Cole replied incredulously.
The 36-year old eventually responded saying, “The answer is, yes. I did. I’m not gonna say I was the first to tell him […] I was like, ‘Yo, you gotta sign this kid from Compton.”
Cole said he first brought up Kendrick when Dre was working on Detox, but doesn’t know if Kendrick was signed on his recommendations because a member of Dre’s team, Manny, was already familiar with Kendrick.
“Shoutout to Dr. Dre,” Cole added. “He made the right decision.”
Cole also revealed he wanted to sign Kendrick Lamar early on in his career, but admitted he didn’t have the right resources at the time.
“100 percent. I don’t know what I would’ve signed him to, you know what I mean?” he explained. “We didn’t have our business intact, but that’s how much I rocked with him at that time. I met him, and instantly was highly impressed. That would’ve been the first artist in my mind [to sign], but come to find out, he had bigger shit going on.”
Dr. Dre signed Kendrick Lamar to his Aftermath label in 2012.
Dr. Dre and Kendrick Lamar are both working on new music for their respective albums and are scheduled to perform at the 2022 Super Bowl. Meanwhile, Cole’s The Off Season has just been certified platinum in the US.
Watch the full interview below. EarthGang, and Omen also make appearances.