J. Cole’s sophomore album Born Sinner came out today, and there’s been a lot of buzz over the number of iconic and influential rappers he name-drops all across the record’s sixteen tracks. The most obvious comes in the track “Let Nas Down,” where he discusses the Queens MC’s less than positive reaction to Cole’s releasing “Work Out” as a single off his chart-topping Cole World: Sideline Story debut album.
But Cole and Nas have a bit of a friendly history, and in an interview with BET, Cole described running into Nas in a Houston airport at six in the morning and showing him the track just a few days after writing and recording it.
“I wrote the beat at the house, wrote the rhymes at the crib, and then I waited til I got to the studio that night to record it,” Cole recalls of the making of the track. “Three, four days go by, we got a show in Houston… I do the show, wake up the next morning, go to the airport at like 6 am.” While at the airport, Cole took out his laptop and handed it to a friend, still bugging out over the track, when his friend looked up and noticed Nas boarding the plane, eventually taking the seat behind Cole’s.
“Soon as I seen him I knew that this was fate,” Cole continued. “I was telling people, this album has so many moments that connected that let me know I was doing the right thing, and that was one of them… I give him my headphones—I’m trying to hear what part of the song he’s on, ’cause he’s behind me. About a minute in to the song, he’s just like “whooo!” beating my chair, just bangin my chair. Overall he was wild, the look on his face was like, honored, honored that I would make that, and also highly impressed. So that was a huge moment for me.”
Check out the full video of Cole’s interview below.