In a clip unearthed by Sway Calloway on RapFix, J. Cole is seen in the studio several years ago asking Jay Z to appear on his mixtape.

“Jay Z, I got a few projects that I’d like to get you on,” he says in the clip. “You know, if you not scared.”

In the clip, Cole is asked if he’s challenging his mentor.

“Not on camera, I’m not,” he says with a laugh.

Explaining the context of the video for Sway, Cole explained that the clip was filmed on his birthday in 2009 shortly before his signing with Jay.

“That was my birthday ‘09,” he said. “I signed a deal in February of ‘09 but I knew I was gonna get the deal since December. My birthday’s in January. That was my birthday night. We recorded ‘Dead Presidents II’ that night I think. ‘Last Call’ that night we recorded, all off The Warm Up. It was a special night, everybody brought drinks through. Melanie Fiona was there. I played her the Lost One’s video ‘cause I was sitting on that for a while. That was a crazy night. Just seeing that was wild and I was being reckless.”

Asked about his relationship with Jay Z more than five years later, J. Cole detailed getting to know the rapper slowly after the deal.

“It’s dope,” he said. “From the very beginning I felt—I’m a realist. You know when you talk to me and when you hear my raps you know I’m a very realistic person. I’m almost too honest at times. Uncomfortably honest. Getting into the rap game and doing interviews in ‘09 it was weird because I seen that there’s a lot of fronting going on in the industry and posturing. I gotta make it seem like I’m this type of person. When people asked me, I just did the deal February, just met the guy in November, and that summer I’m doing interviews and people asking me, ‘So, what’s your relationship like with Jay Z?’ I felt this pressure that people wanted me to say that we was best friends. The real truth was I just signed to the dude. We ain’t had no time to grow into a real relationship. I was very aware of that and I wasn’t gonna lie for my image to make it seem like I’m cool with Jay Z. But I hoped and I was confident in time that relationship would grow into something real. I got a game I respect from this man just as a person. I gotta get to know him, he gotta get to know me as a regular human being. I say all that to say, back then I was answering it like, ‘Man, I’m signed to him.’ Now it’s an actual relationship. I feel like I know him a little better, a lot better. I can relate to him because I been through a lot of the things that he’s been through so now our conversations are different. There’s something to go off of to build the relationship other than, ‘You’re signed to me. I believed in you and gave you a shot.’”

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