J. Cole Schools Students At Harvard University

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By Sidney Madden

Seems like hip-hop and higher learning are going hand-in-hand these days. J. Cole spoke to a packed classroom at Harvard University (via Rap-Up) on Tuesday about his journey through the world of rap. The 28-year-old MC, hailing from Fayetteville, NC participated in the talk as a part of an hour long discourse titled, “The Next Move: A Conversation with J. Cole.”

Emphasizing his ‘started from the bottom’ type of story, Cole spoke about early musical influences including Kool Moe Dee, Bobby Brown and Michael Jackson and credited his step-father for putting him on to West Coast rap.  “He was on this real West Coast wave; Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Snoop,” he told students. “Those were some of the earliest ones.”

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After giving up on his hoop dreams of playing in the NBA (literally), the St John’s University grad “relentlessly” dedicated his time to the rap game. Answering a student submitted question, Cole went into detail about where he draws inspirations for his intricate rhymes, like dealing with stereotypes on a daily basis.

“I build up a bank of thoughts and observations…and then as I’m writing, they kind of slip in” he explained, citing his message in the song “The Badness” off of his ‘09 mixtape, The Warm Up, as evidence. At the end of the discussion, Cole thanked his agreeable audience and tweeted “Harvard, that was ill,” later adding, “Lemme stop being cool, THAT SH– WAS AMAZING. Thanks.”