Roc Nation’s J. Cole currently has iTunes’ number one new album and he’s expected to move upwards of 250,000 copies of his debut, Cole World: The Sideline Story. New fans roped in by the radio-friendly singles “Work Out” and “Can’t Get Enough” may be somewhat surprised at the North Carolina native’s claim that, “I have to be the only new artist who’s been out for two years.” Yet there is a lot of truth to the statement.
True to his word that he was more interested in developing artists than profiting off of singles, Jay-Z was in no rush to release Cole’s debut album. And while talking with Jozen Cummings of the Wall Street Journal, it sounds like J. Cole appreciates his extra time on the sidelines as opposed to releasing an album in November of 2010.
“I would have liked ‘Friday Night Lights’ to have been an album,” Cole explained. “But once my steam ran out and I realized there wasn’t going to be a single, I was fed up. If we’re not coming out with a single before the end of the year, I gotta drop a mixtape.”
Waiting through the signings of Jay Electronica and Willow Smith while his proposed album was turned into another mixtape wasn’t the setback many would have expected for Cole. He added that he exercised the same patience when he was originally signed to Roc Nation by not immediately quitting his job as a bill collector. It was an attribute that apparently also kept him from becoming lazy and hoping a Jay-Z co-sign would propel his career to another level.
“I was always conscious of the fact that I couldn’t sit around and wait for Jay-Z, he respects my hustle, ” Cole added. “Where I’m at now, the fans I have now, have come from my independent spirit.”