'GQ' man of the year Justin Timberlake: 'Listen, I'm not cool'

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Image Credit: Sebastian Kim/GQ

Say whaaaat?

That’s right: In the pages of GQ‘s brand new Men of the Year issue, Justin Timberlake — smooth-singing, Tom Ford-rocking, Elvis’s-granddaughter-maker-outer Justin Timberlake — claims he isn’t cool. Which sort of makes us want to curl into the fetal position and sob; after all, if this guy isn’t cool, what hope could there possibly be for the rest of us?

Wait, strike that — see, Timberlake is using the whole “cool” thing as a means to explain his general philosophy, which falls somewhere on the #YOLO spectrum. “Being cool,” he clarifies to the magazine, “is about keeping your blood pressure steady. So no. Don’t be cool. Be passionate. Be dedicated. Be tenacious. Be uncompromising. Be pissed. Be happy. Be sad.” And here is where the strings begin to swell.

“I’ve made a career out of doing things that I should not be doing,” Timberlake continues. “I wasn’t cool about it. Because being cool would have meant I passed up on those opportunities. If you do that, it’s because you’re afraid. And what are you afraid of? You know?”

The vocals cut out. There’s a brief moment of silence. Then — crashing cymbals! Gospel choir! Key change!

Of course, Timberlake’s interview isn’t all millennial inspiration and dorky enthusiasm. There’s also the part where he slams Billboard and Variety for ragging on Runner Runner and The 20/20 Experience: 2 of 2 (“It just shocked me because, like, you’re trade magazines. None of your opinions count. And by the way, none of you can do it”), and the part where he says his early start as a child star makes him the “Gandhi’ of the entertainment industry. (In terms of age, not political and spiritual authority. Although maybe that too.)

Head over to the magazine’s site to read the full article — and to check out GQ‘s other Men of the Year, including Matthew McConaughey, Will Ferrell, Justin Timberlake, Kendrick Lamar, and the late James Gandolfini.

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