Before he got famous, J. Cole was a young college student attending St. Johns University, packed in like sardines with his friends in a small townhouse in the Jamaica section of Queens, New York.
As part of MTV’s running “Life & Rhymes” video series, J. Cole returned to the house he lived in while attending school in Queens. Cole introduces the viewer to the apartment’s landlord, Mohammed, who was mentioned in Cole’s hit song, “Power Trip.” Cole said Mohammed was one of the first people to believe in his dream as he regularly let him slide on the rent when he was light on dough for the month. Cold revealed, however, that once he got famous, he promptly paid Mohammed back the money he owed him.
Cole aslo spoke extensively about his inspiration for his TLC-assisted single, “Crooked Smile.” Cole revealed that he was unhappy with the original version of the song and wanted it to feel “bigger than rap.”
“I’ve never worked this hard or for this long on a song before.” Cole told MTV. “The first version of this song had three verses, one of which I knew was a keeper. The other two were good verses but kept it small. It kept it to a rap song and I wanted it bigger than rap. I wanted it to be universal.”
You can watch the entire interview in the video above.