J. Cole learned early on in his career that the spotlight wasn’t for him.

In a recent interview with The New York Times, the 32-year-old rapper, who is now married with a child, discussed the changes he’s made to live a more grounded lifestyle not often seen from hip-hop stars.

“Any reasonable person would be ecstatic,” Cole said of his rise to fame. “I didn’t have that feeling.”

In addition to getting married and becoming a father, Cole also moved to moved close to his hometown of Fayetteville, N.C., and rented a hang-out spot in the suburbs for his label, Dreamville.

The rapper is currently celebrating the success of his latest album, 4 Your Eyez Only, which recently went platinum, and his HBO documentary that airs Saturday (April 15).

Check out some highlights from Cole’s interview with the New York Times below.

On fame...

“The other side, it’s what we grow up believing that we need and want. It’s everybody’s dream... Who doesn’t want the pick of the litter on this, that and the third? Money, women, cars. And beyond all of that -- which I really wasn’t into -- praise.”

On the process of trying to craft a hit song...

“Trying to prove that I could do something that they don’t think I can, it was a very sad place when I look back.”

On his song “Foldin Clothes” and adulthood...

“It’s a celebration of growing up. I chose this path, and damn it feels good.”

On dissing other rappers...

“That speaks to the state of us as a people. For so long my mind state was, I have to show how much better than the next man I am through these bars. Who’s the best? Let me prove it. And it’s just like, damn, I’m really feeding into a cycle of keeping black people down, I’m really feeding into that.”

On his upcoming HBO documentary...

“I felt like it would be mad powerful for black people to see black people talking to each other. And you see a rapper who’s considered one of the biggest in the game, just listening.”


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