J. Cole helped put on Kendrick Lamar.
Speaking with Nardwuar, the Dreamville rapper revealed that he was partly responsible for getting Dr. Dre to sign his friend from Compton. When discussing his role in Kendrick’s signing, Cole took a long pause before acknowledging that this was the first time he had been asked the question.
“Who told you that? Who gave you that piece of information?” Cole said before admitting, “The answer is, yes, I did. I’m not gonna say I was the first to tell him.”
Cole brought up Kendrick to Dre while they were in the studio working on Detox. “I was like, ‘Yo, you gotta sign this kid from Compton.’”
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Dre ultimately listened to Cole and signed Kendrick to Aftermath. “Shout out to Dr. Dre. He made the right decision,” said Cole.
When asked if he would have signed Kendrick to his own label, Cole said “100 percent,” but he didn’t have the resources at the time. “I don’t know what I would have signed him to, we didn’t have our business in tact,” he laughed, “but that’s how much I rocked with him.”
The first time he met Kendrick, Cole said he was “highly impressed” and wanted to make him his first signee. “That would have been the first artist in my mind, but come to find out, he had bigger shit going on.”
Cole and Kendrick have collaborated throughout the years on tracks including “Forbidden Fruit,” Jeezy’s “American Dream,” and DJ Khaled’s “They Ready.” They even teased a joint project, which never saw the light of day.
“We just did a few songs. We did a bunch of ideas,” Cole told Angie Martinez in a 2018 interview. “You wouldn’t call it an album, you wouldn’t call it nothing like that. It didn’t come from nowhere, it came from us. But it’s not something that’s actively happening. I don’t want to play with people’s emotions. He got a career, I got a career. I got a family, he got a family. It would have been easier back then.”
Watch the full Nardwuar interview below.