Cole looks back on his life here and sees who affected his path:
No role models and I'm here right now No role models to speak of Searchin' through my memory, my memory I couldn't find one
The North Carolina rapper is unable to name anyone whose behavior, example, or success served as an example to him. Cole also points the finger at himself, admitting that he thinks he may have been a better person before he was a "B List Celebrity." Be someone that the youth can admire is the song's message.
A role model is a person regarded by others as an example to be followed, especially by younger people. The term is credited to sociologist Robert K. Merton, who came up with "role model" during a study on the socialization of medical students at Columbia during the 1950s. The phrase came from his theory of a group to which individuals compare themselves, but to which they do not necessarily belong.
J. Cole gives a nod to Boyz N the Hood and Big Momma's House actress Nia Long when he raps, "My only regret was too young for Nia Long." According to Long, the lyric is not true at all. "He's really not too young," the 45-year-old actress told King of Cole. "He just doesn't know it."