Here’s the Nas & Cole version of VIBE’s “Summer” 2013 issue. Yesterday they unveiled the Robin Thicke/Janelle Monae version, and tomorrow we’ll see the Pharrell and Daft Punk image. You can click through to read the dual Q&A, but I thought these comments from Cole about lyricism were particularly interesting following the leak of Kendrick’s earth shattering “Control” verse last night:
Is hip-hop lyricism experiencing a renaissance now? What’s the state of the genre?
J. COLE: It’s heading into another golden era. It might not be there just yet, but it’s getting there. Look at the options you got right now. I remember around the time Hip Hop Is Dead was coming out, I knew why you was saying it. Rap was a fucking joke. It was a singles-driven market. But even when I was unsigned, I knew with what I was doing that this was gon’ turn around. I didn’t know at the same time that Kendrick was somewhere studying, going hard. Drake was somewhere studying, going hard. Niggas is getting back to caring about rapping again. And really taking this shit seriously, clowning niggas that’s wack. There’s a real divided line of niggas that can rap and niggas that just can’t. And you can get your money and it’s all good. We still respect you and we gon’ play your song. But when you look at these guys, way different.
ADDED: Behind the scenes footage from the cover shoot after the jump.