Roc Nation protégé J. Cole recently reflected on his 2011 Cole World debut album and how the project ultimately changed the way a lot of music executives and fellow entertainers do business.
In Cole’s opinion, his lack of mainstream radio singles but emphasis on making a quality full-length album and ability to sell albums helped open the eyes of doubters.
“It took me a while to see it, but my album changed the business model. It showed the world that a radio single is great, but it’s only a bonus when you already have a fan base and music that people will die for. It showed record execs, who’d been doing things in a very old-school way, that there’s a new way-and J. Cole just did it. Kendrick never had to do that Lady Gaga ‘Partynauseous’ song,” Cole says, referring to a duet that was reportedly pulled from Lamar’s album before release. “I’m sure Interscope was shoving that down his throat, like, ‘You got to work with Gaga.’ But he could say, ‘Yo, Cole did all those numbers with no singles, so we’re on the right track.’ Kendrick Lamar is making songs that are anthems for people’s lives, songs that change people’s lives, whether or not he had a radio single.” (Billboard Magazine)
The North Carolina native also thought back to the concerns he had prior to Cole World dropping in September 2011.
“I remember praying at the time, ‘Please, Lord, let me do 100 the first week,'” Cole recalls. “The label was predicting 60,0000-70,000. But when the charts came in, all these top execs were calling Mark Pitts, calling Jay-Z, like, ‘Yo, how the f*ck did you do it?’ I worked my fan base and put out free music and toured for two years, that’s how. Every album I sold wasn’t because of a hit song. The single didn’t do the work; my fan base did.” (“Work Out” later rose to a peak of No. 13 on the Hot 100 on Jan. 8, 2012, helping the album sell 684,000 units to date.) (Billboard Magazine)
Last year, music veteran DMX boasted about his admiration for Cole’s music.
“I tell you when it was [when I was ready to co-sign him.] I don’t listen to the radio, I listened to the radio one time in the car, I’m driving, and I heard a [J. Cole] song and I was like, ‘Wow — d*mn, he’s saying something,'” DMX said referring to getting familiar with J. Cole’s music. “I appreciate his lyrical content and then I found out who it was. So that’s why [I co-sign him.]” (Jon John TV)
The Roc Nation rapper managed to sell over 200,000 copies in his debut’s opening week.
Leading the pack this week is J. Cole’s Cole World: The Sideline Story debuting at No. 1. According to Nielsen SoundScan, the North Carolina rap newcomer’s long-awaited debut album has sold 217,300 copies after seven days in stores. (SOHH Sales Wrap)