If you tell J. Cole he should have a GRAMMY, he'll argue against it. At least, that's the message Cole is sending in his new profile with GQ, where he explains that if he had won a GRAMMY in 2012 for Best New Artist, it would have been a complete disaster for his career.
“It would've been disastrous for me, because subconsciously it would've been sending me a signal of like ‘Okay, I am supposed to be this guy,’" he said. "But I would've been the dude that had that one great album and then fizzled out.”
Later adding: "I'm not supposed to have a GRAMMY, you know what I mean? At least not right now, and maybe never. And if that happens, then that's just how it was supposed to be.”
We have to applaud Cole's impeccable self-awareness here. To know that, despite clamoring for a GRAMMY at the time, that the loss was a blessing in disguise takes a lot of mental fortitude. Winning a GRAMMY is a special accolade, no matter rap's relationship with the GRAMMYs, but for a young artist, it could be as deadly as Cole paints.
Early validation is important to keep artists hungry and on the right path with their music, but it can also stand to box in artists, communicating to them that they need to put out a certain type of music to be heard. Good on Cole for understanding that seven years on.
His resolve about his present GRAMMY-less state is also commendable. We could all learn from the Dreamville head honcho's "right time" mantra. Instead of obsessing over what he doesn't have, Cole opts to understand that the timing just isn't right, and does not let anything burden him. The lesson here is to keep working and let the accolades come in time.