Roc Nation’s J. Cole has addressed the comparison of being looked at as Jay-Z‘s close protege/friend Memphis Bleek.
According to Cole, his story is unique and he is not just another artist signed to Hov’s Roc Nation.
“People always ask me, ‘Yo man, how do you feel about the Memphis Bleek comparison,'” Cole said in an interview. “Like, Memphis Bleek is somebody totally different than me. He has a different story, different relationship with Jay, he came in at a different time. Like, why are you insinuating that Memphis Bleek isn’t happy with where he’s at? Maybe he’s comfortable and content with that. Me? I know where I want to go and I know what I want to be. I knew from an early point and that’s where I’m trying to go. Like, I have nothing to do with who Jay signed before. It’s all about what I bring to the table.” (VIBE)
Unlike Bleek who grew up with Jay, Cole had to get the mogul’s attention as an unsigned artist.
“Junior year. I thought to myself, OK, sh*t, what am I doing?,” Cole said in an interview last year. “That’s when I realized that I had to get my networking up. I tried everything, dog. I mean Myspace messages, making up shirts with slogans like, ‘Produce for Jay-Z or Die Trying.’ Standing outside of studios waiting. I was trying to get internships at studios! All of that led to me getting connected with one my business partners, Mike Rooney. Fast forward a year and a half after I graduate, I wind up meeting Jay-Z.” (Complex)
Cole recently talked about gaining confidence since touring alongside Hov.
“As the tour went on, I got way more comfortable, I learned a lot about doing shows and why Jay-Z is able to do shows,” Cole told radio personality DJ Whoo Kid. “I learned pretty much from him that confidence is everything. If you feel like you deserve to be up there, which of course he does, he feels like that, it shows and all the minor stuff you used to worry about like what kind of hand movements am I supposed to do, all that goes out the window when you got the confidence like ‘Yo, I deserve to be up there, people came to see me.’ So it’s really treating it like that. I used to worry about performing like, ‘Ah man, I’m trying to please every side of the crowd,’ like make sure they gettin’ love, they gettin’ love, Jay just plays wherever he wants. If he wants to play the center for the whole verse, he’ll do that. And all that comes from confidence, when you feel you deserve to be up there.” (Shade 45)
Last month, Cole talked about putting together his forthcoming Roc Nation debut album.
“I’m in with No I.D. right now. He’s incredible. It’s fun,” Cole said about his album’s production. “My favorite producer, after I started producing [and] paying attention to producers, was Kanye…Being in with No I.D. last night and watching him work, it was like, ‘Duh.’ I been in with other producers, it don’t click. It don’t connect. It connects with him. I figure if I grew up looking up to Kanye, Kanye is cut from the No I.D. cloth.” (MTV)
Check out J. Cole speaking on Jay-Z & Memphis Bleek below: