J. Cole doesn't give a shit what you think. Hell, J. Cole doesn't even care if he has a Jay-Z feature...and he's signed to Roc Nation!
Cole is a unique artist in that he got the "big deal" with Hov and friends but refused to make anything but good music. Cole's debut album "Cole World: The Sideline Story" shunned EDM and corny singles in favour of a solid Hip-Hop album...dope, personal lyrics over strong production. The album went Gold yet somehow J. Cole still wasn't a superstar. He was still that son Roc Nation and Hov didn't really talk about it.
Yesterday, J. Cole released the latest single from his upcoming album called "Crooked Smile" Feat. TLC. And as expected with an artist who basically said "here I am...a great rapper...take it or leave it" on his debut album, the song harkens back to some of that classic Rap/R&B mix of the late 90s and early 2000s. There is no David Guetta. There is no talk of slangin' drugs. There is no braggadocio. In fact, the song is vulnerable in its message of "no one is perfect." Shit, Cole even pokes fun at his bushy ass eyebrows.
It's a shame that more artists don't understand the formula like Cole does. People will buy and engage with good music. Look at Adele. A woman who doesn't fit Hollywood's image of what a woman should look like delivered a deeply personal album filled with great music and it sold "Thriller" numbers. And like Cole, Adele will be around forever (or as long as she wants). J. Cole is building a career organically. He's not rushing anything...and he's not trying to please everyone. Amidst the Rita Oras and the Willow Smiths and the Bridget Kellys, Hov is lucky to have an artist like J. Cole who will continue to make money and build a fanbase for years to come.
New artists should look at what J. Cole's doing. Sure, with Cole's approach you may not be able to run and buy that $5 million house with the release of your first album, but you may be able to walk through a catalogue of albums and buy two of those houses...and be able to pay for them long-term and not have them foreclosed. Longevity > Overnight success...every time.