King Mez Says J. Cole Gives N. Carolina Rappers Hope

We sit down with Mez to talk about working with Dr. Dre on "Compton" and the changing landscape of N. Carolina hip-hop.

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I've known King Mez for years, we first started posting his music way back in 2010, so it's been thrilling to see him start to get some of the larger scale recognition he's long deserved. But as he's well aware, even playing an integral role in making Compton is just the start. He's trying to be more than the guy who was on Dr. Dre's album, he's trying to become the guy who made a classic album of his own, and as he revealed in our new exclusive interview, that journey's going to take a significant leap forward when he releases a new song produced by Boi-1da, next week, which he played for J. Cole and Cole was very supportive of. 

What's particularly powerful about Mez and Cole's relationship is that the two share a common home state. Before J. Cole, North Carolina absolutely had its share of great artists (word to Little Brother), but Cole gave the state its first platinum artist, and his success has changed what local artists believe is possible. "I think what he did, it's [made us] more hope oriented," said Mez. "It shows you can get it from anywhere, it just depends on how bad you want it." 

Now its Mez' turn to inspire the next generation of North Carolina artists - he's ready. For even more from our interview with Mez, check him out talking about writing for Dr. Dre (not ghostwriting) and how he ended up on Compton.

Correction:  A previous version of this story reported that Cole and Mez had collaborated on that upcoming song, which is not true. Cole heard the song and was supportive of it.  

By Nathan S, the managing editor of DJBooth and a hip-hop writer. His beard is awesome. This is his Twitter.