J. Cole Speaks On Jay-Z's Input, Creative Control & Production

Cole talks about how much creative control he had, how involved Jigga man was with his debut and why he didn't chase down Swizz Beatz or Timbo for beats.

During a recent interview with DJ Absolut's Take This Serious, J. Cole spoke on his creative control while making his debut, Cole World: The Sideline Story. He also shed light on what Jay-Z did during the process and why he preferred to produce for himself instead of having big names come and help him out. 

"I had a hundred percent freedom, the whole album. Yeah, the whole album is my creative control...It was all me," he said of his hands-on approach. Cole did, however, share that Jay-Z played an important role as well. "[Jay] had a lot of input. Say I would do six, seven song over the course of a few weeks, I would go and play it for him and try to get his feedback on certain songs...I would really go to him like, 'What you think about this single?'...That how a lot of songs like 'Blow Up' was made and 'Can't Get Enough' because I was trying to impress him."

Aside from trying to impress Jay-Z, Cole was also trying to impress fans by producing for himself. Acknowledging that he will now try to enlist others, Cole said he refused collabos this go-around to try to solidify his own sound first. 

"I'ma  producer myself so it helps me establish my sound. The reason I'm even here right now is because my fans fell in love with my songs that I produced in the first place so it would be oput of character for me to be working on my first album and go see Swizz and go to see Timbaland. When you go to producers it's because you feel they got something you don't got, hits basically. So, you end up having an album full of wanna-be hits. But, please believe now that I've done this, I would definitely want to go see these guys because they got knowledge that I don't."  



RELATED: J. Cole-Cole World: The Sideline Story


  • Josh Moore

    lol. wow all the love going around... its a beautiful thing for so much hate in one room. and yep im trollin. every j.cole article i see imma make sure to state just how bad this dude is. he is so bad i literally googled his album and unzipped it just so i could burn it (wasted a perfectly good cd-r btw) and put my drink on it so i wouldnt stain the wood on my new coffee table. THEN i put some cigs out on it. now THATS a burnt disk! this shit is wack. period.

  • @hiphop

    that's right. and then they wipe their fav rappers ass on top of it all, with a smirk on their face, handing over another $20 bill when you know those funds go straight to dunkin donutz.

  • hiphop turned into crap because of morons

    your fav rapper takes a shit, you go take a dump. you can't wait for your fav rapper to take a crap so you sit on the toilet and wait for it to happen. fuckin pathetic.

  • stupid pigs

    what the fuck is with all these stupid pigs. always looking to suck some dude's cock they don't know. you watch tv, your stupid hero on fake media tv gets on and all of a sudden you think your god. your favorite donut eatin shithead takes a shit and all of a sudden you gotta go potty. bunch of followers. lookin at these 2 ugly town court supportin motherfuckers. fuck em. stuff a donut up ya ass.

  • Brad Bateman

    Smdh at you simple minded fucks saying this album was "average".... go back to listening to Lil Wayne and Drakes pop bullshit. Fuckin shame that ARTISTS like J. Cole, Styles P, Jadakiss, act won't sell, but fagtron homosexuals like Lil Wayne, Drake, Wiz Kahlifa etc will...

    • Anonymous

      All the rappers you've named have one thing in common: They are all overrated. Underground people act like Jada is amazing when really none of his verses ever wowed me. Same with Styles. Wiz sucks, Drake is whatever, and Wayne is pretty bad. I haven't heard enough of Cole so I guess he might be an exception, but he doesn't come off as a supermc like everyone else says. He's great but overhyped from what I've listened to.

    • @brad

      fuckin album is garbage now go back to your jelly eating contest

  • d2

    Is this classic because he had few features? Or because he produced most of it? It is worth mentioning and very bold for debut artist but does not make this classic. And no one is talking about the fact that this man had TWO years to make a BIG record. Know how much studio time that is? Ppl keep saying "he dont need no hits" but why let him off the hook like that. Recording/rapping is your life and the best you can do is a mediocre track with Trey and put OLD songs from 2 years ago on here??? There are ways to have hits without alienating your core. Lupe dropped Superstar and both the pop world and hip hop world were okay with it. Cole fans should hold him accountable. Im hearing "Cole is modern Pac" and "Sideline Story is on point with College Dropout".... All this shit is BAD for hip hop because you're purposely TRYING to make this guy the next coming and he doesnt have the music, BIG records, or persona to back up the claims

    • @cosign

      good, we found a normal person in the world. someone not stupid enough to pay some dumb ugly pig and put a stranglehold on mainstream media cock. wow. cosign isn't a cock gobbler fuckin awesome how do we find more of these people.

    • Anonymous

      i agree with you 100%. his little stanz on this site are trying to make a big deal out of him. most of his first week sales were due to sony purchasing his albums and rihanna's fans buying it on the stregth of him opening for her on tour.

  • -.-

    He had 100% creative control and he did THAT? WTF COLE? WTF? He puts Lights Please, but not 2Face or Farewell? He makes songs like Cole World which are COMPLETELY USELESS. You'd think with 100% control he would've made the whole album full of Dollar and a Dream III's. Out of 18 tracks only 12 are worth listening to more than once. Out of those 12 only 7 are classic. Out of those 7 only 4 are new and classic. That's 4, maybe 7 songs that I'll still listen to. I'm disappointed as fuck with this album. I'ma go listen to Evidence and 9th Wonder's albums because THOSE are great, especially Cats&Dogs.

    • jason

      He has no classic songs? Are you retarded? "Lost Ones"?

    • Alex P

      lets be honest here.....you are an undercover j cole fan........u talking about he had 7 classic songs, when he really had none......get your azz back in the closet, stanly.

  • Let's be honest...

    all you people comparing drake and cole...Cole will show his solid numbers next week and with any luck "Can't Get Enough" will do what it supposed to and then he'll drop a few more singles and over time push the project to platinum status. This will be based on solid work ethic. Cole did it without a SMASH hit...without "BEST I EVER HAD" Drake would NOT have caught the buzz he did. He had one and that set him good for his career. By no means does the entire "Thank Me Later" project even hold a torch to "The Sideline Story".

    • Don Julio

      J Cole tried ever trick in the book to get a hit, even spending crazy money for that Paula Abdul sample. His biggest seller on I Tunes was In the Morning ft Drake, so he couldn't even buy a hit with just himself.

    • AyA

      Your argument makes no sense.. you think Cole doesn't want a hit single.. you think he hasn't been trying to put out one..

    • Anonymous

      you can't blame drake for having a hit record. wtf? it's not drake fault that j cole's records were not hits and people didn't want to hear them.

  • da1

    Jay-z this Jay-z that Jay-z this Jay-z that. Get off Jay-z dick JAY-cole. lol

    • @da1

      you are correct. what is with the fuckin morons in this country. your pig hero takes a shit, you take a shit, he wipes his ass you wipe his ass, he wipes your ass, you wipe his ass, bunch of cock suckers in this country always looking to suck the next pig's dick fuckin donut consumpting morons

    • Shlomi TalentDisplay Samya

      He does talk about Jay a bit too much. Now that he's buzzin' watch him lay off that a bit.

    • sa

      they asked him about jay z, plus jay is his boss

    • Anonymous

      Triple Co-Sign!!!

  • The B

    Plus Im waiting for that Styles P on Tuesday. Real Rap Music!! I bet he won't even go brass, but it'll be better than some damn j cole guaranteed!!

  • The B

    on here not onj here. my mistake

  • The B

    Im so sick of j cole! especially with dx putting his ass onj here every fuckin day...DAMN!!!

  • Maj

    Its a gift & the curse (i aint tryna use a jay pun here) having crazy amount of features & amazing production. You garunteed platinum status, especially with talent like cole but you aint really dropped YOUR debut album then, you dropped a compilation and if i wanted that, i wouldve hit my ipod for random tracks. I think this is why i dont rate Drake's "Thank Me Later". Contrary to what haters say, that nigger got a god given talent of being able to spit and sing and i dont see how that makes him a "soft ass nigga" but his album was nothing but features and heavy production so in the end it wasnt a drake LP. Fact of the matter is, in the past 5 years, no one has been brave enough to exec produce and spit heavy independently on their debut album and Cole deserves credit for that shit, platinum by November i reckon.

    • Anonymous

      for him to go platinum by november, he would have to sell at least 200,000 copies every week of october, so it ain't happening. he not even going gold in november. smh.

    • ilexx

      Co-sign and that's it right there. We got a solid debut album that wasnt feature heavy or relying on the hype of big names. I personally think that was a great move for his career and a great way to introduce yourself to the world. Now when he branches out it will be authentic and on his terms.

  • Anonymous

    i hope he doesn't go to swizz and timbaland... j coles production has been on point. no need that lex luger garbage

    • BX Finest

      It's too bad J Cole's "stans" think just because he sold 250,000 without a hit record, that means his numbers are good. Hit singles mean those singles sell on I Tune and make more cash, so lloyd Banks, Big Sean, Wiz Khalifa, Chris Brown and even Soulja Boy Tell Em's albums did better overall, because all of them sold millions of singles. J Cole's album is on sale at Target for $6.99 after they give the discount, so Sony ain't making no money off this album lol.

    • @DeZ

      Imagine if he HAD a hit single.. he would sold more probably.. Cole needs to step his production game up.. its all good on his mixtapes but studio albums are a different story.. he needs to do more production collaborations to broaden his sound like does Kanye..

    • DeZ

      @dante for someone WITHOUT a hit single, not even a semi-hit single, no heavy radio spins, no songs in the club... 250,000 units first week is pretty good

    • Dante

      yeah, the beats were mediocre and drake did a better version of that song. j cole has some crazy stans who want to believe 250,000 is a great moment in rap when it's just average.

    • Ernest Kumah

      are u on som medication how did drake killed him on in the morning track drake aint even had a punch line on that track go listen to it again before talk FAGGOT


      An old drum machine is what most of these producers use, and the casio keyboards were shit but I remeber there was one dope casio board damn I forgot the name.

    • Irv

      are you stupid? his production is nice most of them and more features? stfu with that an album with less features is better and drake didnt kill him on in the morning j.cole would destroy drake on any song

    • Anonymous

      his production sounds like a old drum machine and casio keyboard sample. he should've gotten better producers and more features. drake killed him on "in the morning" though, so he messed up with that feature. he sould've just sold that to drake and let drake do it by himself.

  • Anonymous

    J. Cole really held it down on his own for the whole album. That's why I been a fan of his for a minute. The only people who actually had verse was Jay and Drake. I think he went in the right direction with his debut album. No features to let the people who bought your album hear YOU for the majority of it. Second album is when you start collaborating with other artists. I like the direction that he's taking his career in.

    • Anonymous

      saying he held it down this album, is like saying fighting 3 people but still getting knocked out is holding your own. He featured 3 platinum artists (jay z, missy and drake) on this album, so it's not like he went for dolo or with unknown artists. nice lil album but not a classic.

  • C-Dot

    J.Cole - 0 Drake - Kickin his azz J.Cole needs to be open minded and more well rounded...Just because others produce for you don't mean that you can't be yourself...

  • Youtube Darrellskie

    J. Cole next two blow, Jay Z you two old now go ahead and pass the torch Youtube Darrellskie - Racked Up freestyle ...... i ripped it lol

  • KapDiva

    I was wondering why this album didn't do big numbers and now I know. If he would have had better production and more features, he would have sold at least 350,000 in the first week. Expectations were low for him anyway, so 250,000 in the first week and going gold sometimes next year is good for him. They were hyping him like he was going to be big as Drake last year, but that buzz totally died. The album was average when I heard it on YouTube.

    • AyA

      @Figurez Thats where your wrong.Comparing the debut albums,Coles is set to sell more and he will get more money because he will get producer AND artist royalties.. Wiz and Big Sean are on big labels so theyr also only getting small piece of their album sales (just artist royalties).. Wiz had a really big single but thats one song and label and producers took most of the money off of that and his album didn't sell that well versus Cole whose album is projected to sell more and hes a better percentage.. do the math..

    • reallyhuh

      figurez, sounds like you only listen to music which generates the most money... j cole is 26 going onto 27. Nas's illmatic sold 59,000 in the first week lil waynes c4 sold 964,000 in the first week which album is better figurez? stop talking about sales because in this day and age numbers don't equate to quality.

    • Figurez

      At the end of the day, J Cole doesn't own a record label, so he ain't seeing that bread neither. Sony, Roc Nation, Live Nation, Ticketmaster and Mark Pitts owned Bystorm Entertainment are getting paid the most money off of this album. But really though, it's not that much money, because it wholesaled for $5.00 and shipped 400,000 copies, so do the math. Producers don't get paid more money than the label, they only get a little more than the artist per song. Wiz ain't no boss, Big Sean ain't no boss and J Cole ain't no boss. Wiz is 23yrs old, Sean is 24yrs old and J Cole is 27yrs going on 28, so he should at least have production credit as old as he is. But, he should also have his own label at his age lol. Wiz and Sean still will make more money than Cole overall, because their music generates more money. Why do J cole's fans want to make a big out of nothing? The real people recognize fake props and that's what you guys are trying to give him.

    • AyA

      @Figurez Black and yellow generated more money for (Stargate) his producers than Wiz, same thing with Big Sean while J Cole produced most most his album so hes set to make more money of his album than both Big Sean and Wiz off their debuts...

    • Figurez

      wiz and sean sold more singles, so therefore their albums generated more money than j cole's 250,000 albums sold. wiz sold 3 million copies of "black n yellow" before his album even dropped and sean went gold with that chris brown single. You do the math.

    • Check the Hate Vol.1

      ^^ Sean sold 87k in his first week. Wiz sold 197k. Cole is selling 250k first week. You do the math.

    • ilexx

      @Big Dawg Its different for Game because it isnt his 1st #1 album. Game is supposed to have a #1 album, his 1st album sold 5 mil+ BTW even though more people may know Wiz's name and possibly Big Sean's name over J. Cole's he is still set to have a bigger debut than BOTH of those artists who released their first MAJOR label debut albums this year and they had bigger singles. The simple fact that J. Cole did it with less features and major producers is what makes this all the better. That is why his #1 album will change the scope of things for him. Just observe the next couple of weeks homie...

    • Big Dawg

      If an artist's life is supposed to change after a #1 album, I guess things are great for The Game too. J Cole did nice numbers, but nothing groundbreaking. He not even on Wiz and Big Sean level. Why did he have to put Drake on his album after he was saying he didn't even like Drake?

    • Anonymous

      how can his album go gold (4 weeks)in a month? he would have to sell 250,000 copies in 3 weeks and that's not going to happen. his second week numbers will be about 80,000, third week about 45,000 and 4th will be 23,000, so he won't be going gold in a mere month. for that matter, he won't be going platinum ever with this album.

    • ilexx

      @Diva u thought the album was average when you heard it on YouTube!?!?!? These are the things I dont get... Who listens to an ALBUM on YouTube!?!?! When u listen to an album u need to hear it sequenced and with the best quality sound u can find. Not YouTubing niggas tracks.... Also I personally think he did it the smart way because he was self-sufficient this time around and NOW he has an established sound that has proven itself at retail. Their are mad producers wanting to work with Cole, these niggaz say it in the interviews. From 9th Wonder down to Premo... Dont you think now that Cole has done his thing on his own that these producers will now more understand his sound and be able to push him further. That will help to add alot of value to his sophomore efforts and beyond. I think it was the smartest thing in the world for Cole to establish his sound first. BTW this kids buzz did not die out.... its only the beginning that we are seeing right here. Just watch and see. An artist's life changes after a #1 album so just watch..

    • ItsTheTruth

      The album will be gold in a month...platinum next year. Buzz or not, those are good numbers

  • call me li

    album is a classic cuz its got a balance between fun and deep songs, has a theme, and every song is good. no skips. maybe In The Morning but yall know thats a ladykiller

  • Anonymous

    but his beats are JUST "OK". hopefully next time he gets with some dope hip hop producers, not necessarily swizz but dope producers.

  • Anonymous

    Another interview with JAY-Z name in it smfh.he could dodge da interviews so dont act like he wass forced to do dem

  • Jg

    album is average, has a good chillin vibe but too many ppl are blowing it out of proportion. Its no College Dropout or Boy Meets World, but its probably the best debut of the '10s. Gotta respect Cole for producing all his own shit. But he shoulda gotten come Kanye production. I think if he handed Kanye the reins on his next lp it would be crazy. Seeking out good producers isnt about "wanna-be hits", its about making a cohesive quality product that flows. Common handed Kanye and reins on his comeback 'Be' and it was audible CRACK..no hits no bangers, just 11 classic tracks. Gta grow up Cole, give Yeezy control, learn form him, and then go back to producing your 3rd lp with that knowledge

    • ilexx

      I agree with the fact that Common had a cohesive sound through out Be but u have to understand that didnt come from seeking out dope producers that came from having ONE producer drive your sound. Similar to Jay-Z's Reasonable Doubt, the production has a pace throughout the album that sticks and holds the same vibe. Yes he had multiple producers on their but most of the work is split between, Ski, Premo and Clark Kent and I think thats a good look when u can hold that vibe all the way through an album. Honestly J. Cole did a good job of doing that on his current album. I just believe it will be better for him and for the fans when he branches out on his next LP. He went light on the outside help from producers and features and I think it was a good look for him. They (J. Cole & Roc Nation) made more money off of this product because J. Cole handled 85% of the production and 85% of the performances (4 features total). Trust me they happier than a mothafucka right now. Strongest debut we seen in a minute.

    • Anonymous

      yea no id too

  • Anonymous

    It's an interview, they are asking about Hov smh. Im impressed about how well that album was. No numerous guests, 90% produced by Cole and great balance between fun tracks and serious tracks. He should keep getting advice from No.ID cause his beats are good but need improvement. He should work with: Kanye, No.ID, 9th Wonder and Just Blaze on his next album.

  • yardie state of mind

    Didn't Cole have a line on one song about not giving a fuck if Jay shouted him out? Really? Cuz every interview over the last two months have been about Jay.

    • Anonymous

      what does that have to do with that line? And if a interviewer ask him something about Jay he's not suppose to answer cause you get butt hurt?

  • Lopez Jacob

    For his next album he needs to get a Premo beat, a 9th Wonder beat, a Kanye beat, and he should think about doing another song with Drake, a Boi-1da and 40 produced one.

  • Anonymous

    damn this guy must be boring and uninteresting cause everytime someone interviews him its always about jay-z

    • Jonel 'Shaq Deisel' Howard

      Considering most of the interview title's have Jay-Z's name in it, it shouldn't be a problem since people want to know the chemistry between Cole & Hov

  • Anonymous

    I think instead of just going to other producers for his next album for songs, he should find someone to work with, like Kanye on Late Registration. Because honestly, I really dig his sound, and it would be interesting to just see it grow.

  • juju0190

    soooo yall still gonna hate on Jay as a C.E.O.?

    • ilexx

      Jay and Roc Nation definitely know what they were doing... They literally put J. Cole through "Artist Development" which labels dont do any more. Throwing him on tour right out the gates was the best thing he could have done for Cole to build a loyal fanbase. Also he never lost with Wale, he manages Wale and get this... Roc Nation STILL manages Wale even though his label situation changed from Interscope to MMG/Warner. So Roc Nation is still winning with Wale cuzz he is gonna drop and still do great numbers. Willow Smith... She didnt just take the route of releasing an album right away. They doing the Annie movie in collaboration between Jay and Will Smith... Thats gonna be a win which ever way u take it because its a musical so every musical is accompanied by an album. It will sell on the screen and in stores and then she will tour. Believe dat!

    • bob

      Wale was never signed just managed, by putting cole constantly on tour rocnation made sure that his fanbase would be loyal they know what they are doing.

    • Anonymous

      will smith's daughter is like 10 years old,she can't work like other artists she's gotta live and how do you know that jay elec has already an album completed that's being delayed

    • Anonymous

      I mean it's one project. he still lost Wale and Jay Electronica still half assing records. there are plenty of acts on Rocnation that aren't heard of. What happend to Will Smith daughter btw? forgot her name and everything.

  • Cuda B

    Good. This gives me faith that his sophmore album should be the classic that everyone claimed Cole World would be.

    • Cuda B

      Why am I being labelled a hater because the production on the album is mediocre. Heck I don't even need Cole to actually use other peoples beats, but I would at least like to see him with a co-producer or a mentor like No I.D. I mean damn, I just want to see the guy excel to the next level. You can be happy where he's at now, but he has room to grow and room to be better. That's the Cole I want to see, and that's the Cole whose album I'll buy sight unseen. Unfortunately, for me I come in from the production, and if your beat can't get me nodding my head it's hard for me to care about what you're saying no matter how deep it is. I'm not listening to you for spoken word. I'm listening to MUSIC!

    • g-sus

      Just because someone says Cole World is not a classic, that doesn't make them a hater. If anything that person has common sense. Anyone who calls his album a classic not even a week after release is a fucking groupie. Lets see how time treats the album, then come back and judge if it's classic or not.

    • COLE WORLD = 200k+ first week

      but cole world IS a classic. 0.o eat your heart out hater


    Can't do nothing but respect that...bigup for standing on your OWN 2 feet.

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