[With huge first-week 2014 Forest Hills Drive sales for J. Cole and a positive Kendrick Lamar hit called “i” out, EPMD’s Erick Sermon gives SOHH readers his take on hip-hop’s growth.]

I love what J. Cole did. After awhile, you’re going to have to look at the world and the state that we’re in. I tell people too, they fired teachers, closed 400 schools, our kids are getting dumber. After awhile, you have to take some type of responsibility.

People say I’m not here to govern your child. I’m not here to be a role model. That’s a cop out. You make millions of dollars off of these people and you can’t tell them one thing that’s good?

I don’t understand. That’s why at the end of the day I love artists like J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar making a song saying, “I love myself.” For somebody to take that in and hear that, that’s what somebody needed to do.

You just needed to make one song like that. Out of all the money you make and the shows, just tell that child something.

Again, it will backfire on [those artists and labels]. Just look at J. Cole, outselling everybody with these so-called big records on the radio, he sh*tted on them. That’s what I’m talking about how it will change.

That’s why I’m excited about coming. I’m not hearing competition with anybody. I just want to put my work in to say I understand and I’m here as a veteran and understand where y’all are at in case you don’t have enough weight to hold.

Check out Erick Sermon’s new “One Shot”: