Growing up in a single-parent home in the North Carolina city of Fayetteville, Cole struggled with his small-town mentality, when he relocated to New York City
How long can I survive with this mentality?
A small-town mentality means being insular, narrow-minded and settling for things the way they are. Cole initially had this mindset when he moved to the Big City, until he learnt to shed this way of thinking.
"Ville" is a French word meaning "city" or "town". Cole first coined the phrase "Ville Mentality" on the 2013 Truly Yours track "Can I Holla At Ya?", where he rapped:
We had potential to be monumental, 'ville mentality You know that old kill or be killed mentality I look at where you at now it's a real fatality
The song features a spoken interlude from a young girl. Dreamville in house producer Elite told Complex:
"That was a little girl in a school. Cole went to Fayetteville one day and just sat down with some kids and spoke to them and recorded it. And he got them to open up and say these really powerful things.
What she said, it hit me pretty hard, and I think other people are going to connect with what she was saying because it was just…talk about a window into what's wrong with America. It's right there. And it's a little girl. If you can't feel that, you're not human."
The Naughty by Nature hit "O.P.P." doesn't have any curse words, but many oversensitive radio stations played a "clean" version with the word "kitten" edited out, surely the first time that word was censured.