Prior to signing with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, North Carolina lyricist J. Cole sat down with a number of industry heavies in the hopes of finding a label home. Among the numerous industry veterans Cole met was former G-Unit Records president Sha Money XL who he says had hopes of introducing the young rapper’s music to G-Unit head honcho 50 Cent.
According to Cole, who revealed the story of his encounter with Sha Money with Vibe.com, Fifty wasn’t all that impressed with his music.
“After that, Sha Money was trying to fuck with me heavy,” said Cole while speaking on his interaction with both Sha Money and Tony Yayo at 50 Cent’s house. “He was like ‘Son, look, I’m playing 50 your shit.’ Supposedly the story is that he played 50 my shit and 50 wasn’t sure. Like, ‘I don’t know, man. Is he one of these skinny jeans niggas?’ He couldn’t see it, but it was a good time in my life. It was brand new, fresh. Being in that crib was amazing.”
Later down the road, despite 50 Cent not recruiting Cole, the pair would work together on “New York Times,” a record featured on the Born Sinner crafter’s Truly Yours 3 mixtape. Cole was initially hoping to include verses from both 50 Cent and Nas on the mixtape cut, but was forced to nix the Nas verse due to time constraints.
“Exactly. For hip-hop, period. But really for New York,” Cole explained, in regards to the power of potentially having both Nas and 50 Cent on a record. “I wanted that to be a real New York record. This down South nigga coming and putting on for the city because I have a connection. So 50 came to the studio in L.A. to lay the verse and he heard the melody and he was like, ‘I could tell you was thinking about me when you were doing that melody.’ He wrote that shit in five minutes, maybe. It was crazy to see that melody that was in my head come to life with the actual person who I wanted to do it…Nobody had a problem with it. I think that they saw the moment was going to be big. I wish he could’ve gotten that verse done, but my nigga Bas is on that, so it’s all good.”
Despite interest from Sha Money and others, J. Cole ultimately signed with Jay Z’s Roc Nation in 2009. Ironically, the rapper signing to Roc Nation followed numerous attempts Cole made to reach out to Jay Z to introduce the Brooklyn emcee to his music.
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