J. Cole talks about touring with full band, Campus Consciousness Tour

By Lindsey Diehl

It doesn’t seem to be “A Sideline Story” for this heavy hitter, anymore.

Grammy-nominated artist J. Cole is gearing up for his tour stop Wednesday night at the NIU Convocation Center. The “Work Out” and “Can’t Get Enough” rapper is headlining the Campus Consciousness Tour with opener Big K.R.I.T.

This spring marks the 10th Campus Consciousness Tour which was previously headlined by Wiz Khalifa, Ben Harper and Drake.

The Campus Consciousness Tour is a project of the non-profit organization Reverb and was created by Guster musician Adam Gardner and his wife, environmentalist Lauren Sullivan. It aims to educate and mobilize students on environmental responsibility while keeping the environmental footprint of the tour itself to a minimum. During the tour, students are also able to register to vote.

The Northern Star sat down with Cole to talk about education and passion before he hits the Convo.

NORTHERN STAR: DeKalb is very excited to have you and Big K.R.I.T. come and perform. Can you tell me a little bit about what you’ve got in store for your stop in DeKalb?

J. COLE: This is special because I just wanna say that like, you know, I’m on this tour and a lot of rappers, especially like starting out and even older rappers just come out with a DJ. But the reason why this tour is special is because it will be the first time that I upgraded to a full band … So it’s like a full production … I guess you could say that’s what I have in store.

NS: What are you looking forward to most about getting this tour started besides making this show a full production?

JC: I’m excited to be out with Big K.R.I.T. You know, we’re new artists. And like me, he produces all his own music and writes all his own raps. He’s the total artist, complete package. So it will be cool just to go out there with K.R.I.T. He’s such a dope artist. So that’s what I’m really looking forward to and also getting back to colleges. I love performing at colleges. The energy is totally different and way more appreciative. School is love.

NS: This tour seems to be based around the education and awareness of students on many different levels. And I know that education is something you are very familiar with, being Magna Cum Laude at St. John’s University. Can you tell me how important education is to you?

JC: Absolutely. College gave me more time to grow up. You know what I mean? More time to figure out myself and my life and, of course, along the way, I learned a lot of things, valuable and educational things that I didn’t know about the world. I majored in communication, so there’s so many things I know now about the communication world from advertising to media to television production and screenplay writing. But really college just gives you more time to grow up and figure out what you really want to do with your life … So I’m a big supporter of everybody going and at least getting their Bachelor’s.

NS: I know you have a great deal of tenacity and drive, to say the least. What advice can you give to students that may be struggling to follow their own dreams?

JC: Man, just keep going, believe in yourself and never stop. The only time you fail is when you quit. Other than that, you never fail. If you’re always actively pursuing something then it’s impossible to fail. You know what I mean? You never fail until the day you quit. As long as you believe in yourself man, it will happen for you. You just can’t stop. You just gotta keep going.

After wrapping up the Campus Consciousness Tour in the beginning of May, J. Cole will be joining Drake’s Club Paradise Tour alongside Waka Flocka Flame, Meek Mill, 2 Chainz and French Montana through mid-June.