In the latest segment of SoulCulture’s mental health campaign, #OKNotToBeOK, Roc Nation’s North Carolina emcee J. Cole discusses experiencing depression whilst crafting his anticipated sophomore album, Born Sinner.
“When you listen to the album you’ll notice how it flows from darkness to light, from hell to heaven, depression to happiness,” Cole says of the upcoming LP’s emotive theme. “It literally was a way out… I’m writing my way out of a negative place, a darker place.”
“When I say darker place, there’s no suicidal thoughts,” he adds. “You’re talking to a person who’s mind was strong. I had nothing but positive thoughts – and you’ve got to have the balls to move from Fayetteville to New York, not knowing nobody, just because you feel like you’re gonna make it in the music business. And then for that to actually happen… And then you get signed…
“There’s a mentality that I had that was never shaken, it was quiet, it wasn’t outspoken, it was all in [my head]. The minute that changes and now I’m dealing with a mindstate I’ve never had to deal with before – which is fighting all these negative thoughts – that’s the dark place I’m talking about.
“My self-confidence kind of shattered, you know what I mean? Trying to fight against that, writing my way out of it. This whole album is writing my way out of that place. Because I had never had to deal with that before. I was a happy kid, I wasn’t a down kid. I observed life and I saw it for its positives and negatives, but I wasn’t a depressed child. So when I had to deal with that type of mindstate I wasn’t speaking on it…
“You know, I was fucked up for this whole album,” he reveals. “I was doubting myself this whole time… It was real to me. Pressure is real.”
Watch below as Cole explores stress, pressure and depression.
Interviewed + Cut By: Versetti
Shot By: Tom Shrim