J. Cole, the acclaimed rapper and Dreamville leader, achieved a major career milestone last month when he reached the coveted No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. This accomplishment was thanks to his collaboration with none other than Drake on the hit track “First Person Shooter.” However, in a recent interview on Lil Yachty’s podcast, “A Safe Place,” J. Cole shared that this achievement, though sweet, also carries a hint of bitterness.
The 38-year-old rapper opened up about his first No. 1 hit, acknowledging that had it landed at No. 2, it wouldn’t have affected him the same way. He explained, “If it would’ve gone No. 2, it wouldn’t have mattered. I wouldn’t have felt no way. If the other song would’ve gone No. 1, it’s like, bruh, I’m cool.”
J. Cole’s honesty shone through as he delved into the reasons behind his mixed feelings about reaching the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. He expressed his desire for his first No. 1 to have been achieved differently, saying, “I’d almost feel better not having my first No. 1 being off a Drake alley-oop, you know what I mean?”
Despite this sentiment, he emphasized his gratitude for being a part of the record that allowed Drake to tie Michael Jackson’s record with 13 No. 1 hits. “First Person Shooter” faced stiff competition, going head-to-head with another track from Drake’s album, “For All The Dogs,” titled “IDGAF,” featuring Yeat.
J. Cole clarified that he had no interest in surpassing Yeat’s record, nor did he actively encourage fans to boost the track’s streams to secure the top spot. Instead, he pointed out that the song’s success was due, in part, to the digital sales of the song. He humorously remarked, “What got ‘First Person Shooter’ to No. 1 was me and [Drake’s] fans still buying iTunes singles. I don’t know who’s still buying them bitches but, you know, appreciate y’all.”
Analyzing the success of “First Person Shooter,” Luminate, a website that delves into entertainment trends and insights, reported that the track sold 4,000 digital copies in its first week, along with 42.2 million streams and 4.3 million radio airplay audience impressions. This remarkable achievement marked the first collaboration between J. Cole and Drake since their 2013 hit “Jodeci Freestyle.”
“First Person Shooter” was featured on Drake’s album, “For All The Dogs,” released in October. The album soared to the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 chart, earning Drake his 13th No. 1 album. It featured an array of talented artists, including Bad Bunny, SZA, Sexyy Red, 21 Savage, Lil Yachty, PARTYNEXTDOOR, Teezo Touchdown, and Chief Keef.
In the world of music, reaching the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 is a significant achievement, and J. Cole’s mixed emotions about this accomplishment reveal his dedication to his craft and a desire to have achieved it in a different manner. Regardless of how it happened, “First Person Shooter” remains a testament to the talent and impact of these two rap superstars, J. Cole and Drake.