Get in the driver’s seat with J. Cole. The rapper covers the new issue of ESPN The Magazine with race car driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.
In the magazine, the two stars unite for a joint interview, despite the fact that they had never met before. Previously, Cole shouted out Earnhardt Jr. during ‘Note to Self,’ the closing number on his third album, ’2014 Forest Hills Drive.’ “Man look, y’all really wanna know who did it? I’ma tell y’all who did this s— man. Man, Dale Earnhardt Jr. dog. I’m not gonna forget that s— you told me yo… That s— you said to me changed my life.” The two also bonded over the rapper’s 2013 song ‘Power Trip’ featuring Miguel.
J. Cole explains why he decided to throw out the NASCAR driver’s name, which shocked many rap fans who wanted to more to the story.
“There was an interview Dale Jr. did that asked him what he plays before races, and he said ‘J. Cole ‘Power Trip,’ which freaked me out! What is Dale Earnhardt Jr. doing playing my s—? How did he even find out about it? You don’t think somebody on that level would ever hear your stuff. From there, I never forgot. I was always like, ‘Yo, I ride with Dale Earnhardt Jr.’ So when I was picking a name, I chose his.”
The North Carolina native reveals that after he made the mention, it became bigger than he expected. “And it worked out crazy. Everywhere I go now — the airport, the store — people say, ‘Yo, Cole, I love that album, bro, it’s a classic!” And Dale Earnhardt Jr., it’s the first thing they bring up! It’s already a thing in hip-hop, already an inside joke that’s going to live forever.”
Dale explains how J. Cole’s song became a staple on his race day playlist. “‘Power Trip’ was coming up on my Pandora station a lot. I found out Cole was from North Carolina, and when you like a guy’s music and you find out he’s from where you’re from, you tend to start to follow him. I heard he had a new album, and it started popping up on my Twitter timeline that there was this shoutout,” adds Dale. “I was like, “Oh s—, what’s happening here?” So I went and listened to it, and it was funny as hell! So I tweeted to him, “Man, that s—’s funny!” And he retweeted it and thought it was cool.
Cole and Earnhardt seem like fast buddies. Check out the full interview on newsstands Feb. 2.See 20 Rappers’ & Singers’ Yearbook Photos You Won’t Believe