scorecardRapper J. Cole says he started smoking cigarettes at 6 years old: 'I was young and fearless and trying to be cool'
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Rapper J. Cole says he started smoking cigarettes at 6 years old: 'I was young and fearless and trying to be cool'

Barnaby Lane   

Rapper J. Cole says he started smoking cigarettes at 6 years old: 'I was young and fearless and trying to be cool'
EntertainmentEntertainment2 min read
  • J. Cole has revealed the shockingly young age at which he started smoking cigarettes.
  • "At 6 years old, I was smoking cigarettes regularly around the neighborhood," he said.

J. Cole has revealed the shockingly young age at which he started smoking cigarettes.

"At 6 years old, I was smoking cigarettes regularly around the neighborhood," Cole, who grew up in Fayetteville, North Carolina, told Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers during a recent appearance on the "Lead by Example" podcast.

"I was always hanging around the older kids in the neighborhood," he added. "They were smoking and I was young and fearless and trying to be cool."

"So, it was like, 'Oh, y'all smoking. Let me see that,'" Cole said.

The "Love Yourz" rapper went on to explain that his mother was unaware he was smoking until his older brother, Zach, caught him and ran home to tell her.

"She was like, 'Say something,'" he recalled. "I was like, 'What do you mean, say something?' and when I said it she bent down, she smelled the cigarette smoke on my breath."

Cole described the moment his mom confronted him as "life-changing."

"After that, I didn't need much correction, I became a self-corrector," he said. "That was the first time I became aware that, 'Oh, my actions can hurt someone else.'"

Elsewhere in his interview with Myers, Cole explained why he was unfazed that his third studio album "2014 Forest Hills Drive" did not win the Grammy for best rap album in 2016.

The album, which is widely considered Cole's best and a modern classic, missed out on the award to Kendrick Lamar's "To Pimp a Butterfly."

"A Grammy didn't increase my enjoyment or decrease my enjoyment," he said. "If that album had won a Grammy, it wouldn't have changed my experience. The fact that it didn't win didn't change my experience."

Cole has been nominated for 16 Grammy awards since 2012, but won just one. In 2020, he won the Grammy for best rap song for "A Lot" with 21 Savage.

The 38-year-old rapper told Myers that having to wait so long to be recognized by The Recording Academy changed his perception of the importance of the awards.

"It was so important to me," he said of wanting to win a Grammy when he was young. "Had I had won it early on, I think it would have validated all those feelings I had for it. Maybe it would have felt like a championship at that point, I'm not sure. The fact that it didn't happen and then it didn't happen and it didn't happen, it allowed me to reflect."

"After more time to sit with myself, it becomes clear that those things weren't for you," he added. "Then, when it actually came, it's like, I'm not in love with this thing anymore. Not to mention, I won a Grammy with somebody else. It was me as a feature on somebody's song. It's not something I did."




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