Promotional efforts landed J. Cole in New York City for much of the week, and while a unique listening session for Born Sinner garnered the most attention, he performed an intimate show at the iHeartRadio theater, too. Before he took the stage, Hip-Hop Wired sat down with the Roc Nation MC to discuss a few interesting points about his highly-anticipated album.
“I just wanted to let all of the music flow out of me as freely as possible, beats and words,” Cole said on how the piece organically came together. In all actuality, “The Power Trip” rapper said “the concept didn’t formulate until later.”
He added, “I noticed the patterns of the stories. I guess you can say the pattern of the stories is all about overcoming any adversity.”
According to Cole, rejection, pressures of success, backlash from critics, and temptation — with an emphasis on rejection — are all discussed on the project
Speaking on actual records, he says that emotions run high throughout the 16 songs. “‘Let Nas Down’ is going to just touch it. It’s going to give you chills,” said the Grammy nominated artist. Also, the resounding “Runaway,” the TLC-assisted “Crooked Smile,” and finale “Born Sinner” are also songs Cole claims can bring someone to tears.
Around album time, it’s customary for rappers to speak on their bodies of work with the utmost confidence. However, a majority of these artists wouldn’t adjust their date to go head-to-head with a superstar like Kanye West if asked to put their money where their mouth is.
Cole briefly spoke on the adjustments he made to his roll out after pushing the release date to June 18. Releasing “N**az Know” and the “Dollar & A Dream” tour were already planned, but he said “some things we had to readjust. Now you’re playing chess and trying to play your cards at the right time, because you’re fighting a different kind of monster with Kanye.”
Cole diffused all indications of a sophomore jinx with a quality project.
This adds to the narrative of Cole’s sophomore LP, and ultimately speaks to the growth of a artist that blossomed right before out eyes. See him perform “Crooked Smile” for the first time here. Check out photos from the concert on the following pages
Photo: Mike Lerner/iHeartRadio