J. Cole recently admitted he was smoking cigarettes on the regular at the age of 6.
On Tuesday (March 21), ESPN aired a new interview where J. Cole sits down with Bob Myers to talk about his childhood, rap career and future. During the sit-down, the Fayetteville, N.C. rapper revealed he was a nicotine fiend years before he even hit puberty.
“At 6 years old, I was smoking cigarettes regularly around the neighborhood,” J. Cole explained at the 3:55-mark of the interview below. “I was always hanging around the older kids in the neighborhood that [my older brother] was hanging around and they were smoking. And I was young and fearless and trying to be cool. So, it was like, ‘Oh, y’all smoking. Let me see that.’ And, of course, we’re all out there [with] young parents, long leashes. Not that [my mom] knew I was doing this.”
“To them, it’s funny. They’re 10 themselves. So, it’s funny for them. Nobody’s really worried about me. They’re 10 and smoking cigarettes,” he continued. “This is going on for two-three weeks. One day, I’m down the street at a house where it was happening at and my brother comes up and I asked one of our homeboys in the neighborhood, “Yo, You got any cigarettes?'”
J. Cole said his brother ended up telling his mother, who later confronted Cole and was devastated after learning the truth.
“The reason why I think that was a life-changing moment where after that I didn’t need much correction—I became a self-corrector—is because that was the first time I became aware that, ‘Oh, my actions can hurt someone else,'” he added.
J. Cole is currently working on the follow-up to his 2021 album The Off-Season. The last time the reclusive rapper made the headlines, Joe Budden called him out.