If I follow my heart to save myself
Could I run away from 50 mill like Dave Chappelle?

from J. Cole – Runaway Lyrics on Rap Genius

Meaning

Viacom offered Dave Chappell $50 million for a third series of his hugely successful Chappelle’s Show which he bluntly turned down and went to Africa.

When he returned to USA he did an interview with The Actors Studio in which he tells all about his feelings towards the industry as a whole and why he set of to Africa:

A lot of white people get therapy, we don’t have those facilities, we have weed and liquor stores. Why is Mariah Carey making a $100 million recording contract and taking her clothes off on TRL? To say someone is crazy is dismissive, people are not crazy, they are strong people, maybe their environment is a little sick. The only way you know where the line is, is if you cross it.

Here’s Dave Chapelle incorporating this in one of his most recent stand-ups…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbS9jZOlQjc

Could be referring to the theme of the album. Cole is determined to stop making music for the mainstream media and go back to making music for his core fans. Of course, this may mean that this album may not sell because it is more real than flashy. He is questioning whether he can “follow his heart” and make the music he knows he is capable of and miss out on the money, or will he give in and continue making the mainstream music that he has become ashamed of and continue to be rich?

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