J. Cole: In the Zone (Article)

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Here’s an in-depth article chronicling the long journey for J. Cole from his beginnings to dropping his first album for commercial release, as the first rapper signed to be signed to Roc Nation by Jay-Z. The article was written for Complex by one of J. Cole’s closest friends, as part of Complex’s J. Cole week. Check out an excerpt below and click here for the full Complex article.

“Shit, it’s about to rain,” said J. Cole as the two of us stood outside of Baseline Studios in midtown Manhattan, the soundlab where Rocafella Records created many of its biggest songs during its reign over the rap game. The year was 2005. Four years earlier, Jay-Z had recorded his opus, The Blueprint, here. For that reason some considered it hallowed ground. Which is why—despite the falling rain, and despite me wishing Cole would say, “Fuck it, D, let’s roll”—we remained staked outside of 127 West 26th St., hoping for someone to open the door.

Cole’s plan was a simple one: Jay-Z was supposedly working on a new album, so if we went to the place where Jigga was known to record, there was a chance we would run into him, and… you know… the stars would align, and Jay would take Cole’s beat CD, and listen to it, and love it, and have someone reach out to get him on the next album.

As roommates from sophomore to senior year, I watched Cole hope and dream about getting a deal while working tirelessly to perfect his sound.

The plan couldn’t have been more far-fetched, but J. Cole believed it was viable. It never seemed to cross his mind that his dreams would not come true. To him it was inevitable. There was just one problem—in order for any of that happen, we would need to get into the building first.  Click here for the full article.