Rap newcomer J. Cole has downplayed Drake‘s assertion that he is the next Nas and said his future in hip-hop is too unpredictable to make comparisons just yet.
Cole thinks he has a lot to prove before he can be given such accolades.
“Comparisons are natural,” Cole said in an interview. “But in this particular instance, and no disrespect to [Drake’s] opinion, because that’s how he feels, but I feel like it’s too early. You can’t call things like that, that early. You can’t say I’m Nas because, look, Nas was in the game for 16 years. What if I’m not here next year? What if you’re not here next year? I don’t think you can say stuff like that this early, but I understand what people are saying. At his status right now, he’s the most talked-about guy in the game. The Nas comparison is like, ‘He gets a little bit beyond the surface,’ but I feel like when it comes to those comparisons, it’s way to early. And you never know, 10 years from now, I could be Jay.” (MTV)
Last year, Drake revealed how he views his position in the rap game.
“I’m at the starting line,” Drake said in an interview. “Those guys are at home, putting on their tracksuits, getting ready to make their attack. When J. Cole gets it super-right, I think he’s gonna have a place as a Nas-type character who really stands for hip-hop, but still makes ill records that everybody f*cks with.” (Complex)
Cole previously said he was influenced by artists like Nas and the late Tupac Shakur.
“The more lyrical rappers. I gravitate toward the classic and more lyrical rappers,” he explaind in an interview. “Sometimes when I’m in the studio we spend an hour on YouTube watching old rap and freestyle. For a while there it was really lyrical and witty and was always personalized. I’m drawn toward storytellers like Nas and Tupac. I’m realizing my own work in this day is generally not something that is out there. There is a lot of talent, but they just aren’t putting out what I am. The whole game is exciting but nobody in a long time has come out with the skills for lyrical writing that I am coming out with.” (Spinner)
Drake has also credited Nas for influencing his own music.
“It’s gonna be bigger, it’s gonna sound happier,” Drake said comparing his debut album to So Far Gone. “Yeah, it’s gonna sound bigger, it’s gonna sound victorious because that’s where I am in my life — I really studied Nas to be honest, Nas was like somebody that I used to listen to his raps and not really understand ‘how’ he did it, I always wanted to understand how he painted those pictures and his bar structure and all of that. I went back and really studied Nas, studied Andre 3000 [for this album] and I hope you like it.” (IM Flashy)
Check out Drake speaking on Nas below: