Thanks to a shout out at the end of his 2014 Forest Hills Drive song 'Note to Self,' folks probably think J. Cole and Dale Earnhardt Jr. know each other.
"Man, Dale Earnhardt Jr. dawg. I'm never gon' forget, this is gonna sound crazy but I'm never gonna forget that shit you told me yo," Cole says in the track's outro.
But, actually, Cole had never met his fellow North Carolinian until they did the cover of ESPN The Magazine's annual music edition together. Cole explains what connects them in an interview with ESPN's website.
"There was an interview Dale Jr. did that asked him what he plays before races, and he said ‘J. Cole ‘Power Trip,” which freaked me out! What is Dale Earnhardt Jr. doing playing my shit? How did he even find out about it?” said Cole. "You don’t think somebody on that level would ever hear your stuff. From there, I never forgot. I was always like, 'Yo, I ride with Dale Earnhardt Jr.' So when I was picking a name, I chose his. And it worked out crazy. Everywhere I go now—the airport, the store—people say, ‘Yo, Cole, I love that album, bro, it’s a classic!’ And Dale Earnhardt Jr., it’s the first thing they bring up! It’s already a thing in hip-hop, already an inside joke that’s going to live forever."Check out the full cover below.