J. Cole Explains Why No Guests Have Appeared on His Last Three Albums

"I don't make a song and be like, 'Damn, I want to get such-and-such on here.'"
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J. Cole interview with Angie Martinez, 2018

J. Cole is open to collaborating with other artists, just not right now.

In a new interview with Angie Martinez, conducted this past weekend while Cole was in Miami for his headlining performance at Rolling Loud, the Dreamville emcee revealed the reason why he hasn't employed a single guest feature—aside from his alter ego, KiLL Edward—on his last three albums (2014 Forest Hills Drive, 4 Yours Eyez Only, KOD).

"I don't work like that. I work in a closed-off space, like, self-contained. And I like it like that," Cole explained to Martinez. "And not saying that I'll never become a person that operates the other way, but I don't make a song and be like, 'Damn, I want to get such-and-such on here.' I said everything I wanted to say. This is what I want to say."

If Cole is open to eventually collaborating with others on his own projects, does this mean that the long-rumored but ill-advised Cole and Kendrick Lamar collaboration album is on the way? Not so fast.

"We just did a few songs. We did a bunch of ideas, I'll put it like that," Cole told Martinez about the possibility of a full-length LP with Lamar. "You wouldn't call it an album, nothing like that. [...] It didn't come from nowhere, it came from us, but it's not something that's actively happening."

Prior to both featuring on Jeezy's "American Dream" last year, Cole and Lamar last worked together in 2013, when Lamar appeared as a guest feature on "Forbidden Fruit," a standout selection on Cole's sophomore album, Born Sinner.

As for appearing on projects by other artists, Cole has delivered a handful of guest features since the beginning of 2017, including Joey Bada$$ ("LEGENDARY"), Logic ("AfricAryan"), Cozz ("Zendaya") and Royce da 5'9" ("Boblo Boat").