Kendrick Lamar is helping J. Cole build anticipation for his upcoming album release of Born Sinner. Cole World’s website released an interview with the Compton native, where he talks about his respect for Cole and his influences growing up.

Recently named MTV’s Hottest MC in The Game, Kendrick gives mad props to Cole, who didn’t crack the top ten this year. “Everybody can rap but only a few get in these positions where they can really speak to a generation of people and have them follow it. When I listen to people like Cole, it’s that gift.”

News broke last year that the two are working on an album together. J. Cole will act as the primary producer on most of the records, no other details have been released about the collaborative effort yet, though.

Kendrick also opened up about being influenced by Tupac and the gangsta rap movement as a youth.

“Tupac would be talking about these real deep concepts of a teenage boy being lost. I couldn’t really understand it. I wasn’t a teenager yet. I was still doing back-flips off the rooftop thinking everything is fun. But my older cousin, who was 17, would be like, ‘Man, this n---a Pac know exactly what I’m feelin’ right now.’”

We’ll have our first (and hopefully not last) opportunity to check out Kendrick locally on May 30th. K. Dot is invading the Washington Avenue Armory with the Good Kid Mad City Tour, featuring special guests Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul and Jay Rock. Tickets on-sale now!