J. Cole On Jay-Z Collaboration: "Your Guess Is As Good As Mine"

Exclusive: As J. Cole readies the September 27th release of his debut album, "Cole World: The Sideline Story" he recalls getting the attention of manager Mark Pitts and keeping his word on few collaborations for his first album.

"I've been signed for two and a half years, it's been a long journey for me," J. Cole explains, holed up in Jay-Z's Roc the Mic Studio in Manhattan. Donning a snapback, t-shirt and cargo shorts, the young Roc Nation stalwart premiered the greater whole of near finished tracks for his debut album Cole World: The Sideline Story this evening to a select few in the music industry, and HipHopDX was there.

Cole explained he had well over 30 tracks to choose from for Cole World arriving September 27th. While sequencing and track titles remain tentative, the bulk of production does rest in J. Cole's hands, with the exception of one No I.D. track, a Danja Handz track, and the assumed album opener by new production team The University. Some cuts on Cole World: The Sideline Story have already made their rounds, including "Work Out" , "In the Morning" , "Lost Ones" , and "Lights Please" , which coincidentally was the song that drew the attention of manager Mark Pitts.

Per Cole, his demo for "Lights Please" was sitting in Pitts' office unopened until his assistant Kirk finally played the record as Pitts was about to leave his office. He turned around "like he smelled cooked food," Cole explains, and the rest is history. A skit on the album has J. Cole telling the story of how the night he got signed he was arrested and spent the night in jail, but was resting on the high of his record deal.

What hasn't yet been heard on J. Cole's debut is a healthy balance of pensive and energetic tracks, where Cole's talent - both lyrically and musically - sits at the forefront. Collaborations are very few, with one confidential collab with a female rapper who moonlights as a singer. Cole discusses several topics on his debut, ranging from relationships to personal achievements and the highs and lows of this new life he still seems to be accustoming to. The title track presents high-powered spitting from Cole on relatable subjects like student loans. Another standout track on the album takes a futuristic abstract beat and inserts the repetition of Jay-Z's classic line from the song "A Million And One Questions." The question of Jay-Z appearing on the album still arrives with no answer. "Your guess is as good as mine if we're gonna get a Jay-Z verse," Cole says of the one song he wants Jay-Z on, coincidentally the final track on the album. While some bars from the Roc Nation kingpin would be nice, Cole says he's not pressed. Rather, the Hov cameo would put an end to the continuous question of whether or not Jay-Z cosigns him.

Still unfinished, Cole World shows great promise and is the type of album Hip Hop should expect from the multi-faceted emcee /producer who stepped on the scene with well-deserved praise. Cole admits he already has the structure for the second album, which he hopes to release in the Summer of 2012. While Cole World: The Sideline Story was anticipated for a summer release, J. Cole is fine with missing the mark. "It'll be a Cole Fall instead," he says.



  • Adecmr

    Man, a Jay-Z feature would be amazing, but J. Cole can hold it down on his own. His album is going to be great. Cole World, 9/27. Get stoked!

  • Octavian Johnson

    Am I the only one who saw this coming? I had a feeling Jay-Z wasn't going to be on this albumm

  • Anonymous

    Who cares? Like we haven't heard enough JayZ by now. He needs to hang it up anyways. So, this is his protege, and he can't drop 1 verse for his "classic" debut? Doesn't make sense. Only thing is maybe he wants Cole to do it on his own merit, and not need a JayZ feature to get sales or listens or whatever. Cole can def hang with him as heard on BP3. I really hope this album surpasses my expectations. Cole is really good but I tend to get "bored" too quick; like I only need to hear half the song and I'm ready to move on like Brand Nub

  • Anonymous

    Everybody know Thank Me Later aint no muffuggin classic a hov was on that shit. if he aint on this its not because of the quality of the record.

  • da1


  • frank

    Jay not gon rap on sum average track so u kno cole's album prolly mediocare n jay sayin it's a classic is pure bias to the fullest that shit aint gon b no classic we all kno dat deep down! lol


    A Im just here reading your comments and just started to think to myself what do these songs really mean? let me get deeper into it what does a song like "Lost Ones" truly mean to the average person,the song talks about abortion yet every one still has them. Some rappers used their talent for good and actually spit knowledge that deals with everyday issues but yet it seems like the fans our more concerned of whats hot and whats not. Let me ask you something what does music really have to do with your life? really though someone answer me that question please. Because if your answer is for enjoyment or entertainment then why do people constantly hate on other rappers who they may not like? I know everyone has an opinion but why do u guys go out of your way to make negative and ignorant comments about another person work. At the end of the day they are following their dream and we are here on the computer watching it so instead of getting on these comments why not use that hate that your going to type out and do something positive with your time you sitting here and talking wether hell the sequel or WTT is better and wakka flocka and gucci maine are the wackiest in the game and how drake and lil wayne are gay and rick ross is a phony y'all are the real lames bcuz there living the life and your not because if you were you would not be here commenting on every song that anybody makes. Im an average person so I don't travel around the world or buy expensive clothes or have the hottest chicks to sleep with but still I don't have to hate on others who do. This comment has nothing to do with this article its more of an overall comment on this website one thing that I did notice is the people who comment on J.Cole songs are more mature than the people who comment on lil wayne songs or drake songs I guess that says something right there. what ever man Im faded and just was zoning out

  • nixnox

    album don't need a jay-z verse

  • Anonymous

    I'm a Jay fan, but F his verse...I like the kid for knowing he got a hot album with or without it. This guy can hold his own....Looking forward to the album

  • we

    im sure jay's a busy guy but he's gotta give cole at least a 16, i mean he gave jeezy 32 on his debut

  • Anonymous

    DX getting weaker and weaker by the day...this article came out yesterday...why re-post it today? tired of them mention Jay-Z/Kanye everyday! Damn they album dropped already. I understood it because of the album, but this site used to shed light on dudes who didn't have much mainstream attention. SMH...might be time to look fort a new blog/site to stay posted on fresh(new) artists/music

    • NJClipper

      lol bitter much?

    • karm

      Real shit - DX falling off. I used to come here to learn about & support the cats who didn't get the mainstream attention, but DX has gotten hella commercial lately, not to mention the huge corporate advertisements are OD. Definitely time to find a new site. There are plenty of them out there.

  • Posturing

    If my guess is as good as his, I'm guessing that after Jay reads his sideways remarks, he can forget about a verse and any other favors. More confirmation regarding why Jay makes artists stand on their own two. He's already assuming the posture of somebody who would blame the label for his lack of sales.


    Yea he got a cool flow th@s why J would stamp it....If u like good music go here for your 14 day subscription of free music darksidemusic.net


    Yea he got a cool flow th@s why J would stamp it....If u like good music go here for your 14 day subscription of free music www.darksidemusic.net

  • stevi-o

    side line story gonna be serious , i know it, you can just tell, this dude been puting out serious sounding music for free,. when u package and sell something it has to exceed the quality of what u giving away. Jay dropped a verse btw.

  • Ladi Alao

    Cole World album review: allhiphop.com/stories/reviewsmusic/archive/2011/08/18/22866535.aspx Looks like a classic already

  • Truthenola

    A classic album is an album that can stand the test of time.Ready to die,life after death, Doggystyle,. Reasonable doubt, Lowend theory, award tour, chronic, illmatic, Blueprint, - it doesn't mean there isnt skip-able songs , it means it stands up and you get that "aww damn" feeling when you hear the intro and know the rest of the songs to come,. Cole has a chance at that , the anticipation is huge for this project , so we'll see. i think Drake gonna suprise a few peeps.

  • R.C.

    oh and "farewell" for the outro

  • R.C.

    if he's gonna use any songs from the mixtapes he should use "2face" "farewell" "too deep for the intro" "i get up"...i wouldnt put in the morning on the album. too deep for the intro return of simba i get up lights please 2face lost ones higher blow up work out cant get enough cheer up how high that wouldve been the perfect album

    • Anonymous

      I would take workout off, and put in "see it to believe it"..but good list Its crazy because this guy has hundreds of songs out, and I don't think any of em have been whack...Looking forward to the album

  • isupport you j.cole

    Cole don't need a hot single to sell ,he will still sell because he has a core fan base that like ,even niggas that bump gucci and flocka niggas that bump trea and slim thugga niggas that bump lupe and nas at the end of the day all of them niggas like cole ,so he will sell over a million on his first album believe that,im def supporting the young cat for all the mixtapes he dropped for free any nigga dat says i like cole and wont go buy his shit should kill him self bitch ass niggas these days

  • eminem murdered u on ur own SHITTTTTTTTT

    jayz is bitch he don't want to do a song with cuz he scared cole would murk him and that would go down as he is not the best.he a homo bitch calls him self the greatest but scared to appear with other niggas that's on his level or better

    • Know Your Music

      Cracks me up when people say that Eminem murdered Jay on Renegade. It shows you know nothing about the structure of music...of a song...of a true to form hip-hop song going way back to K-Solo on Knick Knack Patty Whack! It's quite predictable who was given an alley oop pass and who gets the dunk in a song...if you know what the fuck you are listening to.

    • Truthenola

      Stop blaming Jay for everything, u sound like beans and Dame n dem' Jaz-o and his ol' ass

  • Derek Kallarackal

    Can we speculate on this female rapper/singer... Lauryn Hill. Cole already said he wanted to work with her and that would be CLASSIC.

  • DisloyalFoolAssBitchmadePunkk

    So Jay crowns Cole's album a classic in an article yesterday, and Cole shits on Jay today for not giving him a verse? Doesn't make a whole lotta sense.

  • the grza

    That's the problem today. Too many groupie fans. The album is not even out yet and some are already convinced it's going to be a classic. So what happens when the album the album turns out to be just pretty good or a let down? You never know. These same groupie fans are still gonna call it a classic. Some people have their mind made up already.

  • Eric

    I can understand Lights Please, being on the album, eventhough it's on the Warm Up and for a song that is 3 years old I still listen to it to this day because it's a classic song that doesn't get old and the "new" J. Cole fans need to get put on to it. But In the Morning, IMO is a very average song, I mean its good, but I wouldn't have put it on the album since it's already on FNL ( the only track I skip on FNL most of the time I would rather have Higher on the album, I think it's the better song of the two). Honestly, I hate when rappers put mixtapes songs on their albums, but Cole's mixtapes songs are album quality pretty much. Now if the album has 15 tracks, and we already have work out, can't get enough, and in the morning as the fun tracks, I hope he maybe has like at the most two more fun tracks and the other 10-11 tracks is Cole rapping about real & emotional shit, everyday struggles, and relatable topics. If he space the fun tracks out throughout the album and not bunch them up in one spot on the album, then it will be a very good well balanced album. But if he has the fun songs at the beginning and the real stuff at the middle and end, then the album will not feel like one cohesive complete album, it will feel like a two part album, (all the fun stuff then all the real stuff).

    • illmaticbirgde

      COMPLETELY agree. lights please i get, besides being a great song its what got him essentially signed to the roc. but in the morning is not even that good, its old, and its a remix. i pray that in the morning will be a bonus track, and cosign everything you said about spacing the tracks otu well

  • King of Kingz

    Am i the only who sees why Jay wouldnt drop a verse for Cole? Cole is too good for Jay to get on his album in order for COle to sell. Listen to every track above??Every track is crazy, is good, Cole is too lyrical. I mean daaamn dude is QUALITY. FInally an artist is dropping who has REAL talent. I mean i like drake, but Cole is raw, he is deep and he is his OWN artist. Again...Jay is Cole's Boss. He is CEO of RocNation. How is it gonna look on the label IF Jay drops a verse on every1 of his artists tracks?? It will show that the success only comes coz jay put his vocals on it. This is IF jay HASNT dropped anything, coz that rumour is still being debating, whether or not they are just keeping it quiet. My guess tho, if jay doesn't drop a verse for cole, he ahs a valid reason, at least id hope he thinking to let Cole shine on his OWN without any help, coz daaaamn Cole has the talent and the real qualities to REALLY hold hip hop down for a while.......

    • Big Dan

      There are only three artists on the label, maybe 4 if Willow is officially signed. J Cole is the only rapper. One is disco. No one is looking for Jay-z to drop a verse on those other albums for one and for two, since when did it get unfashionable or weird looking for a rapper/label head to drop verses on his artists joints? He might, but if he doesn't there really is no good explanation. If nothing else, J Cole will be disappointed, he won't understand and right from the jump off, you have a disillusioned artist. I don't see the j Cole album moving a gang of units (and when I say that,anything over 200k units will not be a flop in my opinion) and if the album "flops", now J Cole is thinking the label did not care about the project. And if Jay-Z turns around and drops a verse on Willow's album and not on J Cole, well that would be just disgusting

    • UrBetterJudgement


    • Whining not winning

      Jay already called the album a classic. How much cosigning does that bitch nigga need?!

  • Anonymous

    I really tried to like this guy's music, but it's just boring. It's far from whack and he is very talented, but I don't know. I get bored after 5 tracks, maybe it's his voice or his flow.

  • Big Dan

    Okay, crazy question here? Is Jay-z worried about someone taking his shine, because I don't understand why he has not dropped a verse yet. Maybe he does not want to help make the album a huge hit. I ask because major labels need a record in their hand 6-8 weeks before they'll say it will definitely drop on such a date. I don't know what label puts out the Live Nation albums, but they also have other projects to worry about. They are not just sitting their waiting for a J Cole album. So if Jigga does not drop a verse in the next week to ten days, either there will be a delay, or he won't make the album. If he does drop a verse and the album drops 9/27, then the set up marketing will be crappy, meaning JC gets the shaft. When Jay-Z was running Def Jam and got all the label signee hatas such as LL, I was a supporter and was saying those cats where just pissed that their peer just pole vaulted over them. But maybe they had a point. If dude has not dropped a verse for J Cole yet (maybe he has and this is just a ploy), then this is beyond sleazy. In the time JC has been asking, he has recorded an entire album with Kanye and he has probably recorded a few songs for his next album. F's the hold up?

    • Truthenola

      Jay recorded and pressed "public service announcement " the day before Black album release, so .... we'll see

  • The Ice Cold Phenom

    Roc Nation should be ashamed that J Cole had to sit this long without a debut album. He is too talented and didn't deserve to sit and rot due to label politics. Let J Cole have creative control stop trying to force him down a specific path.

  • sun_god7

    Soooo...calling out your boss in public will help you because...?

  • Anonymous

    dx been on games dick like crazy lately. is this a fucking fansite?

  • Anonymous

    ...dumbass why would you use tracks that are years old? watch the 'any given sunday' leaks end up on the second album

  • rmpwolf

    Lights Please and In the Morning are on the album?..... Those songs are maaaaadddddd old now. How can you say you have all this incredible music and then use tracks that are 2 years old? Get the fuck outta here with that. I get the feeling this album is gonna be a big disappointment now. Classic my fucking ass.

  • Anonymous


  • gzw

    Nas says he's down. Call Nas up and forget about Jay.... Dude's only worried about himself.

  • YoungHovOldFart

    Peeps should really forget about jay-z, what has he done in the last few years that can be considered good, bp3 no, wtt no, please give up jay

    • Anonymous

      /\ Out of all the songs on WTT you think "Lift Off" will be a hit? You must live, breathe, eat, sleep, shit, and piss cock all day long.

    • Donny Dickshinski

      i don't like it that much ^ but i'm pretty sure lift off will be a radio hit..

    • Big Dan

      WTT is far from being a classic. Have not heard anything on it yet that actually moved me. Here is a test, not that this is the standard for a classic album, but their won't be any song on there that's a radio hit. Why is that? Shouldn't a hit rap album have some joint that can rock a crowd, club, party? I understand Jigga wants to elevate his game from all the drug talk, but when you start getting too "artistic" with a rap album and thinking about people's view instead of doing what you do, you run the risk of messing up. WTT is a hit only because of the two big names attached to it, not because of the songs on it.

    • Anonymous

      Watch the throne is average. Already tired of that shit and its only been out a week.

    • Rival X Jordan

      Boo!!!!!!! Watch the Throne is classic. Cole World will bee too.

  • Anonymous

    Work out has already determined the fate of this album. Cant have a skippable track on a classic album people.

  • Anonymous

    I say fuck it and try to get a verse from another 'legend' in the game. Nas, 3k,

  • Abshir Bile

    i know this album is gonna be a classic, noo doubtt

  • trina


  • trina

    check out my cousin's music!

Most Popular News

Most Discussed News