I don’t remember my first time experiencing many artists. Most just filtered their way into my consciousness somehow via a well-timed feature or radio or something. But for Cole, that memory has a mood, picture and time stamp. After spending the better part of 10:00 pm to 12 am downloading the triple-digit-megabyte folder, I was laid out on my back under itchy bed covers, on a chilly pitch-black second trimester-heavy 2 am.
Fresh off an unforthcoming brainstorming session towards a paper and a lengthy impromptu Facebook chat with an old classmate, I’d been slipped this zippyshare link. She’d stressed something about a Jay Z signing under his then brand new label and then about a masterfully gifted lyricist to easily be spoken of in the same breath as the greats. Easily. That level of attention to skill was still alive even in 2011 was a rarity. So naturally my curiosity was piqued.
Cozy against the January chill, surrounded by those old iPod earphones with the rubber rim, I became frozen in the moment from the first contact with those drawn longing wintery chords flecked by sparse grunted ad libs and followed by the burdened, yet hope-filled repetition of “Almost… almost.”
I’d discovered Cole World.
It was nearly 5 am before I’d convinced myself that my first two classes were indeed important enough to shut my eyes for, but I was aware what I’d discovered that cold morning was the birth of an entirely new phase in my understanding of the latent flexibility of words in the approach to recreating a tangible representation of the world to a listener. Fast-forward 7 years… the guy is showing up on my shores. In 3-D. The real Young Simba. I can’t make this shit up. You’re damn right I’m in fanboy mode right now! I know I’m not the only one. Can’t be. I was in the “double-platinum with no features” meme camp with everyone. But as a fan who watched the sun rise on a legend prior to the peak of his fanfare, who studied, imbibed and eventually mutated parts of his style consciously and unconsciously into his very own amalgam, I’m choosing to carpe the shit out of this diem.
Currently in circulation from fan to fan, a white “Johnny Seabass” t-shirt is serving as a canvas for J. Cole day ones, enthusiasts and the rest of the impacted to express to the January 26th legend a life-changing lyric, a favorite moment (Grammy’s T-Shirt… 👀) or an affirmative statement of support for the role that he still plays in the lives of young adults worldwide and the entire industry in which he has crafted his own path.
On a more personal level, with all your support, I’d get the chance to shake hands with, trade stories with and maybe even open for one of the greatest to ever do it. Maybe even get him on a… nah, if they don’t know your dreams, then they can’t shoot em down. Lol. But there’s not enough hard drive space in the world to express what any of that would mean. We’re just shy of a month and I’m going to need as many people on here as possible to make this happen…
I will be releasing new audio prior to Vibrations, Clearly related to this idea, with the goal of it reaching his ears prior to his arrival. I will also be releasing video content of this journey to get #SeabassToCole as I undertake the process of filling up the white t-shirt space with words from some of your faves as well as other true J. Cole fans. The real engine behind this idea is the people. In a month, with your retweets, mentions, DMs and comments on Instagram, Twitter and across social media, I have confidence that the lattice-work of support and energy we generate could create a truly unique cultural moment in this fledgling yet growing New Age music scene.
You’re encouraged to use the hashtag #SeabassToCole and tag @JColeNC (Twitter) and @realcoleworld (Instagram) in your online conversations about the idea in order to coalesce our efforts and help craft a moment we can share in.
Let’s get #SeabassToCole.