About a month ago J. Cole dropped his latest album Born Sinner. On the album was a lot of stand out tracks but none stood out more than the song “Let Nas Down”. The song talked about the early struggles of Cole’s career, trying to get a single out in order to drop his debut album. Cole recalls all the failed attempts at generating buzz for the album until he dropped “Work Out”, which was a pop-rap single. A lot of people knew it as the song that broke J. Cole out into the mainstream. Nas knew the song as a mistake. In “Let Nas Down”, Cole talks about second guessing releasing the song after he learns that his idol, Nas was disappointed with the song saying that Cole is better than that.
This right here is exactly the problem. As talented as J. Cole is as an artist he shouldn’t have had to put out a song that wasn’t him in order to put his album out. If you watch the video, he doesn’t even look into it. The sad part is I know first hand that the song was absolutely necessary for him to gain that popularity. I remember being a fan of Cole’s way before the first album. As usual I tried to show people the music I was listening to but nobody wanted to hear that conscious rap music. The minute “Work Out” dropped I had people trying to put me on to J. Cole as if we never had the first conversation of me trying to put them on to him. Now that he’s got the fan base he can release music that’s true to him and Born Sinner is exactly that. It’s just sad to know that artists have to go against what makes them, to become a star in the industry. It really sucks because we have a lot of artists that have to do just that.
When I heard “Let Nas Down” it just showed the harsh realities of the music industry. If you don’t have a top hit, the labels aren’t trying to put you out. I’m all for a hit single but there has to be a balance. We can’t make all the conscious rappers do commercial music and we definitely can’t make all the commercial artist do conscious rap. I just cringed at that thought.
I’m gad J. Cole didn’t switch up his entire style and went back to his roots on this album. I’m even happier Nas let us all know on the “Let Nas Down Remix” that J. Cole hasn’t let him down.