J. Cole Speaks Out on Nixed Joint Album with Kendrick Lamar

On Black Friday in 2015, two of hip-hop’s most surging and influential acts came together to give fans a special holiday treat. J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar, who had been rumored to be working on a collaborative album around the time, remixed each other’s hits for a double dose of magic.

Videos by American Songwriter

Lamar ferociously rapped over the instrumental of “A Tale of 2 Citiez,” one of the beloved tracks off Cole’s 2014 Forest Hills Drive album. Then Cole did the same, rapping original lyrics over the beat for Lamar’s 2015 smash hit “Alright.” At the end of Cole’s rendition, though, he joked around about the potential of a joint LP with Lamar.

It’s Cole fuckin’ world n***a
Dreamville in this motherfucker, Top Dawg in this motherfucker
“When you and K. Dot shit drop?”
Bitch never, they can’t handle two Black n****s this clever
But this February, bet shit get scary when I fuck around and drop…

To the disappointment of many fans, Cole was not speaking in jest when he said the project was “never” coming. It never did. And now, as Black Friday 2023 soon approaches, Cole has broached the subject in a new interview with Lil Yachty on A Safe Place Podcast.

“In a nutshell, [Lamar] had pulled up on me at No I.D.’s spot,” Cole told Yachty about the early conjurings of the potential collaboration. “This was after we was already building this relationship, and I had these beats at the time and I was playing them for him. … In that moment, we talked about, ‘Yo, bro, we should do a project.’”

However, this was at a time when Lamar had yet to reach the level of acclaim he’s at now. So, as Cole explained, Lamar was amped about the opportunity. But, once he became a worldwide, mainstream star, they weren’t able to align their schedules to bring the LP to fruition.

“At one point it was a real thing. But bro, time and life, we ain’t ever got the chance to really go in and do it correctly. Because that would take time, bro. For us to do something that’s full of our potential, that meets our real potential, you’re gonna need time. … At least a year. … We put it to bed years ago, but at least at one point in time, it was a conversation for sure.”

Check out Cole’s A Safe Place conversation below.

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Leave a Reply