Since his return from prison, T.I. has tried to improve his speech, but it is obvious he is from the South. Lil Wayne, on the other hand, raps with a heavy Southern drawl. But, when he talks, he does not have an accent. When J. Cole speaks, he has no drawl and when he raps, he has no drawl. It would take deep listening to tell he is from the South.
The reason J. Cole sounds this way is because of the city he is from. Cole was born and raised in Fayetteville, North Carolina and the city is home to a military base. The city is located in a rural county on the rural side of North Carolina, but people from all over the world reside in Fayetteville. The city is an international city and living there exposed J. Cole to many different lifestyles. People in Fayetteville do not have much of a drawl and because he grew up listening to Nas and others, he is very lyrical.
However, in cities such as Miami, Atlanta, and New Orleans, the cities have deep ghettos and the population is black people who have lived in the area for decades. J. Cole did not grow up in a city with a deep ghetto, although there is a poor section in the city. Plus, for the past three years, J. Cole has been living in New York City working for Jay-Z. Having been away from the South for this many years has changed the way J. Cole talks and being around rappers from other areas, personally, has changed his style of rap. Despite being from the South, J. Cole has no drawl. But, he still claims the South as where he is from, but he raps for everyone.
Soon, other Southern rappers from similar areas will begin to do the same thing and Southern hip hop will merge into other regions of hip hop and the debate over regions will soon be over. When this happens, hip hop will truly become a music genre in its own right.