Lesson Learned: J. Cole Says Smoking Cigarettes At Age 6 Helped Shape His Future

Lesson Learned: J. Cole Says Smoking Cigarettes At Age 6 Helped Shape His Future

J. Cole is an undisputed leader in this generation.

From his soul-bearing lyrics to his refusal to follow the flashy lifestyle of most rappers, Cole’s authenticity is a breath of fresh air; garnering him fans far beyond hip-hop.

In a recent sit down with Golden State Warriors President and General manager Bob Myers for his podcast Lead By Example, the “Born Sinner” rapper againreminded us of why “Hollywood” Cole is anything but.

It’s been well-documented that J.Cole (real name Jermaine) and older brother Zach were raised by their mother ,Kay. Being in a single-parent household provided ample time for the boys to find trouble

“At 6 years old, I was smoking cigarettes regularly around the neighborhood,” J. Cole told Myers. “I was always hanging around the older kids in the neighborhood that [Zach] 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,” he said before making it abundantly clear that his mother knew nothing of their actions.

Though not the best role model, older brother Zach disclosed his younger brother’s indiscretions to Kay, an Army vet. She was understandably devastated to learn that her youngest child was involved in these activities.

But the moment had an undeniable impact.

“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 shared.

It was this early realization that shaped the character and integrity that J. Cole carried throughout both his time at St. John’s University and his subsequent success in the music industry.