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50 Cent passed on signing J. Cole early in his career because he didn’t believe the world was “ready,” he’s revealed.

While 50 thought Cole and Kendrick’s music was “cool,” he suggested he wasn’t sure “if everybody was ready” for more “conscious” rappers at that time. Earlier this month, Fif’s close collaborator Tony Yayo said he almost signed the Fayetteville native before Jay-Z gave him a Roc Nation deal. He revealed Cole met with them at 50’s home in Connecticut, where he played “Simba” from The Come Up.

During an appearance on The Breakfast Club on Friday (August 12), the Queens, New York native was quizzed by Charlamagne Tha God about him snubbing the future Dreamville star, who visited his house and played him his music prior to his breakthrough in the late ’00s.

50 explained he didn’t feel like there was a big enough demand at the time for a “conscious” rapper like J. Cole given the popularity of the more street-oriented music that he and G-Unit were making.

“To me J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar…these [type of] artists existed early on when I fell in love with hip-hop, but it was Talib Kweli, it was Mos Def, it was A Tribe Called Quest…Common Sense,” he said. “You know what I’m saying? They really, as dope as they are, it’s smarter rap. Smarter music. The logic, ‘sit down, be humble.’”

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