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J. Cole Gives Details on Why ‘Let Nas Down’ Was Created

Astrid Stawiarz, Getty Images

J. Cole idolizes Nas, so much so that he wrote a song about him for his sophomore album, Born Sinner.

“Let Nas Down,” his favorite song on the LP, was created as a way for the Roc Nation rapper to vent about his feelings. In an interview with Fuse, Cole explains that he was in the studio crafting the perfect radio song, which he thought was “Work Out,” his 2011 hit. However, when the track was released, he didn’t get the warm reception he had hoped for.

“It was the worst response I’ve ever gotten on any song I’ve ever put out. It was a terrible response,” the North Carolina native revealed. “When I made that song, it was a triumph.”

Nas comes into play because producer No I.D. was in the studio with him and the two engaged in a conversation over Cole’s track. Afterwards, No I.D. was honest with Cole, telling him exactly what the Queens emcee thought of “Work Out.” “I was in the studio with Nas and we was talking about you and he was like, ‘Yo, why did he do that? Why did he put out that song? Don’t he know he’s the one? He ain’t gotta do that,’” he disclosed to Cole.

As a result of Nas’ words, Cole went on the defense. “On the inside I was really hurt because I really idolized Nas,” J. Cole admitted.

The Illmatic creator wasn’t a fan of the record, but plenty others were. “Eventually ‘Work Out’ became a monster record,” J. Cole stated. “It wouldn’t leave radio, it was a smash, and I’m grateful for that song. But at the time, it was hurtful. I really vented on that song.”

Born Sinner arrives June 18.

Watch J. Cole Speak About “Let Nas Down”

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