Some of Elite's favorite songs didn't make the album, but they'll be out eventually.
Dreamville producer Elite is one of the few major contributors to J. Cole's 4 Your Eyez Only album other than Cole himself, being listed as an executive producer in the liner notes. Seeing as the album has raised a lot of questions from fans, causing some interesting theories about the LP's concept to come to light, he seems like a good person to provide some clarity. Complex has spoken to Elite, asking the producer a few of the questions that have been on everyone's minds since Cole's new project saw release on Friday.
In the conversation, he reveals that there are quite a few of his favorite songs that didn't make the cut, but will be released in some form. He also explains the story of "Neighbors," a track that was listed as being "based on a true story" in the liner notes. Of course, he also addresses the chin-scratching fan theory that went viral, revealing that it's "pretty close" to what Cole was going for.
Read some excerpts from the conversation below, and read the interview in full over at Complex.
On cutting songs from the album:
We had to make some really tough cuts. We had to take out honestly some of my favorite songs on the album because of clarity and making sure the story and the message reached people. All of the songs will have homes eventually, it’s just a matter of giving them the proper platform.
On the story of "Neighbors":
Basically Cole rented out a house in North Carolina. It’s not for him; it’s like a safe haven/creative workspace for all the Dreamville artists and producers. We call it the Sheltuh, and a lot of the album was recorded there. It’s basically a studio in a basement, in the woods.
It’s also in the suburbs of a pretty wealthy neighborhood in North Carolina. So you have, predominately, African-Americans coming in and out of this house. Ubers coming, and every once in awhile you’ll see a group of us outside on the porch smoking weed. So the neighbors started getting real paranoid.
Apparently what happened was, we were all in Austin, Texas, for SXSW; thankfully no one was in the house when this went down. One of the neighbors told the police we were growing weed or selling drugs out of this house. And there was a huge investigation, like a million-dollar investigation. They flew helicopters over, sent an entire SWAT team armed with weapons, broke down the door and searched the whole house. Thankfully nobody was in the house. Our engineer Juro “Mez” Davis had just stepped out for lunch and he came back and saw the SWAT team busting down the door.
They go downstairs and all they see is a studio, and obviously they felt stupid. It’s just crazy ironic because out of anybody, they picked the wrong person. J. Cole is the last person to do anything like that. He’s out here doing extremely positive things for the community and for young artists. Because of obvious racism from the neighbors, the police were called and a raid took place.
On the fan theory that the album is from J. Cole's friend's perspective:
We saw that and it was pretty well-analyzed by whoever did that. It's pretty close to what Cole intended. There is another perspective that he is speaking from on this album, and that’s what he wanted to make clear. There are moments where it parallels him and he speaks from his own perspective. “Neighbors” is a step outside for a second, but it’s still a commentary on the overall theme. But the album is largely from a perspective that is not J. Cole.