During his Born Sinner listening session in New York City, J. Cole expanded on how the record “Let Nas Down” came to be.
It all started when Cole was searching through his arsenal for a label requested “radio single”:
“Towards the end of all that, there was a diamond in the rough. There was like a shining moment for me,” Cole revealed in a video posted on XXLMag.com. “One night I was in this hotel room after a show and I was listening to College Dropout, as I do. And on the worst song on that album, which is my favorite album, so I’m not dissing. But on the worse song on that album, ‘Workout Plan,’ I heard the shit that I had been hearing for like—eight years now. I heard it different as a producer like ‘oh shit’…I made a rough version of the beat right there in the hotel room. By the time I got back to Europe a few days later I had ‘Work Out.’”
Cole went on to explain how he felt when he heard Hip Hop heavyweights Nas and No I.D weren’t feeling the direction he went with “Work out” :
Born Sinner drops June 18th
“My partner gets a call from No I.D…And he’s like ‘Yo, who approved this shit? Who’s behind this? Ya’ll standing behind this shit’…He finally did call me a week later and he was explaining to me like ‘To tell you the truth I was in the studio with Nas man and that nigga was like ‘Yo, why the fuck that nigga make that shit? He don’t know he the one’’…I’m getting defensive, but really I was just hurt as a fan. I idolized that dude. I had his raps written on my walls,”