Finding a home for his Dreamville Records imprint was the culmination of a dream come true for J. Cole. In a Billboard.com interview conducted not long after the label deal was announced, Cole explained how Dreamville landed at Interscope, and his plans for the future.
Cole announced the Interscope venture two weeks ago, along with releasing Dreamville’s compilations mixtape, Revenge of the Dreamers. “We’ve been dreaming about this label situation for years,” he said. “The deal’s been official since late December, and we’d been working on it for a while before that, but it felt too important to just go out and yell it right when it happened. It needed a more grand announcement.”
Joie Manda, Interscope’s president of urban music, approached Cole about Dreamville signing with Interscope. He decided to join the label behemoth partly because of its successful work with Kendrick Lamar, and the vision laid out by Manda. “I thought he wanted me to produce someone over there and I was excited about that,” Cole recalled. “But then he told me that he really believed in me as an executive, a label CEO, and a producer. A Dr. Dre to his Jimmy Iovine. He had the vision.”
Since Cole is now wearing two hats (as a label executive and recording artist), he has already taken steps to brings both worlds together. To “get everyone on the same page” the “Power Trip” rapper held a team-building retreat for key members from his Roc Nation label home, Columbia Records, his publishing company and managers. “I have to be a CEO of myself,” Cole explained. “The last album [Born Sinner] should’ve went platinum with the singles that we had, but I should’ve rallied the troops better — that’s what that retreat was about.”
Going forward, Young Simba plans to expand both his reach and that of Dreamville Records. On the solo spectrum, he aims to fill up Madison Square Garden’s main arena vs. the 5,600-seat theater he sold out in late January; and on the record executive side, Cole is prepping an album from Bas, the first official act signed to his label. Dreamville Records will drop the Paris-born-Queens-raised rapper’s Last Winter release March 6.