J. Cole explains the story behind one of his most talked about tracks off "Born Sinner," called "Let Nas Down."
J. Cole's tracklist has gotten people talking, specifically, the track #15 titled "Let Nas Down." Although Cole recently shut down rumors that he titled a track "I Disappointed Nas," the real title is pretty close. J. Cole held a private listening session in NYC last night in support of Born Sinner (he also held his fan-listening session around the world last night), and he explained in depth the story behind the song.
The Cole World rapper brings us all the way back to his mixtape, Friday Night Lights, and signing with Roc Nation. He talks about his rise to fame, and working on his debut album with No I.D. During the album process, J. Cole was missing one thing: a single. As Cole searched for single material, he happened to make "Who Dat" and wanted it to be his single, but once Cole started working the song, he quickly realized that the song had no chance at radio (Cole briefly explains radio politics).
The story continues, as the label asks Cole for a single ("Who Dat" no longer being an option). Cole reflects on his song "Higher," which he says was the first song he ever made that he immediately wanted to go play for Jay-Z. However, Hov did not give J. Cole his desired reaction to the song, and so he decided to leave and come back with another song, "Blow Up," which also fell short for Jay.
A month or two later, J. Cole is in the studio again, and "Can't Get Enough" comes to fruition. Cole plays it for Hov, and they decide that's the one-- however they don't finalize it in time. Finally, "Work Out" happens, after Cole was listening to the original Kanye West "Work Out Plan" after a show one day. His producer quickly throws a beat together, and a few days later, "Work Out" was born.
Although Cole knew that "Work Out" would be a radio record, it seems other people weren't down for it, including No I.D. and Nas. No I.D. actually hit Cole on the phone and relayed to him Nas' disappointment in "Work Out."
Watch the full explanation from Cole in two parts below.