J. Cole

Nearly eight years after graduating Magna Cum Laude, J. Cole received his diploma from his alma mater, St. John’s University, during a homecoming appearance at the school earlier this week.

The Roc Nation rapper performed at St. John’s on Thursday (April 9), as a part of his ongoing promo tour for his 2014 Forest Hills Drive album, during which he was surprised when one of his former professors presented him with an official diploma.

“Tonight, I guess they let me slide,” Cole told the Village Voice. “I’m gonna send it to my Mom.”

“I owed money for a library book that I didn’t turn in,” he later admitted. “If you have any outstanding fee, that translates to money. There’s a price associated with it. I never paid. That’s why I don’t have my degree.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Cole also said his return to St. John’s reminded him of early in his career.

“There were a few moments onstage when I literally had to remember, like, ‘Oh snap,’. I literally realized onstage that I wrote [‘Lights Please’]. I remembered the apartment that I was in when I wrote it,” he said. “I remembered the night I wrote it. I definitely probably had class the next day. I just remember that era of making music and still going to class. It’s just crazy.”