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How smoking at the age of six changed J. Cole’s life

J. Cole had a life-changing moment at the age of six when his mother confronted him about his smoking.

J. Cole had a life-changing moment at the age of six when his mother confronted him about his smoking.
Bryan SteffyGetty Images

J. Cole is one of the biggest names in the world of rap. While he has gained much notoriety since bursting onto the music scene back in 2007, the 38-year-old, like everyone, has confessed he isn’t perfect.

J. Cole smoked cigarettes as a child

The rapper recently sat down with Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers for ESPN’s ‘Lead by Example’.

During the interview, J. Cole revealed that he began smoking cigarettes when he was just six years old.

“At six years old, I was smoking cigarettes regularly around the neighborhood. … I was always hanging around the older kids in the neighborhood that [my older brother] was hanging around, and they were smoking,” said Cole.

“And I was young and fearless and trying to be cool. So, it was like, ‘Oh, y’all smoking. Like, let me see that.’ And, of course, we’re all out there kinda [with] young parents, with long leashes.

“To them, it’s funny. They’re 10 themselves. So, it’s funny for them. Nobody’s really worried about me. Nobody is like, ‘Hey! Don’t do that.’ They’re 10 and smoking cigarettes.”

J. Cole’s habit was short-lived

J. Cole added that he smoked at that age for two or three weeks. It all came to end one day when he was at a friend’s house.

That’s when his brother heard him ask a friend for a cigarette. Confused by what he heard, Cole’s brother walked home and told his their mom.

Seeing the disappointment on his mom’s face was all he needed to see.

“20 minutes later, my brother walks back to the backyard where we was at. ‘Jermaine!’ He’s like, ‘Mom wants to see you’,” said Cole.

“So I’m walking home, no fear. No worry at all. I saw her face. When she smelled cigarettes on my breath, her face was heartbroken. It was disbelief. It was like, crushed.

“I remember the look on her face and she was like, ‘You have been smoking.’ It like hit her.”

J. Cole explained how the moment changed his life, as it made him aware that his actions could hurt someone.

“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.