J. Cole Says Grammy Win in 2020 Meant Nothing to Him

J. Cole and his fans have always noted how under-appreciated he has been in the eyes of the Recording Academy.

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Now, though, it seems any care Cole used to have regarding the Grammy Awards is dead. On Tuesday (March 21), ESPN released an interview with J. Cole conducted by Bob Myers, the president and general manager of the Golden State Warriors. Throughout the discussion, the two touch on Cole’s ascent through hip-hop’s mainstream, his newly-conceived professional basketball career in Africa, and his thoughts on winning his sole Grammy Award in 2020.

Talking about the Best Rap Song hardware he took home at the 2020 Grammy Awards for his contribution to 21 Savage’s single “a lot,” Cole said his appreciation for the trophy is “nowhere.” He explained that even though he used to have a photo of a Grammy Award as his computer wallpaper early on in his career, the recognition was too little, too late.

“Had I won it early on, I think it would have validated all of those feelings I had for it,” he said. “It maybe would have felt like a championship at that point. The fact that it didn’t happen, and then it didn’t happen, and then it didn’t happen, it allowed me to reflect and be like, ‘Oh wait a minute, those things weren’t for you.’ And then when it actually came it was almost like, ‘I’m not in love with this thing anymore.'”

Check out the clip at the 32:20 mark of the interview below.

Throughout his conversation with Myers, Cole used examples of basketball teams to compare them to his career triumphs. At first, Myers related winning a Grammy to winning an NBA championship, but Cole instead insisted a successful album rollout and execution feels more like a championship.

“And not to mention, I won a Grammy with somebody else. It was me as a feature on somebody’s song, it ain’t for nothing I did,” he said. “That’s nowhere close to a championship to me, the Grammy, but there was an album that felt like a championship. There was the releasing of an album.

“The making of this album I got called [2014] Forest Hills Drive and the releasing of it and the tour, that was a championship run in the way that I would look at how the [Chicago] Bulls would look at the Last Dance [their 1998 championship]. Or how you guys [the Golden State Warriors] would look at you guys’ championship. That was the feeling.”

From that point on, a Grammy, or lack thereof, had no emotional effect on him. “That album didn’t win a Grammy,” he continued. “A Grammy didn’t increase my enjoyment or decrease my enjoyment. If that album would have won a Grammy, it wouldn’t have added or changed my experience. And the fact that it didn’t win, didn’t change my experience.”

2014 Forest Hills Drive came out two years after Cole lost his first Grammy nomination for the Best New Artist category to Bon Iver in 2012. The next year, 2013, he was seen at a show in the UK holding up a sign that read “Fuck The Grammys,” so it seems that Cole may still feel the same way a whole decade later.

(Photo by Josh Brasted/FilmMagic)

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