J. Cole’s Manager Addresses ‘De Ja Vu’ Beat Controversy: ‘That Was None of Our Concern’
There's been much chatter about the "De Ja Vu" beat on J.Cole's recent massively successful release, 4 Your Eyez Only. J. Cole has topped the Billboard 200 for the fourth time with the album, and all 10 tracks have hit the Hot 100.
Still, there was some controversy surrounding one particular track on the album, "De Ja Vu." The beat is basically the same as Bryson Tiller's "Exchange" and since it dropped, fans began wondering what was up with that. The producers of "De Ja Vu," Boi-1da- and Vinylz, have said that the beat was stolen by Foreign Teck, who produced Tiller's beat, though Foreign Teck has denied the claims. Both songs sample K.P. and Envyi's "Shawty Swing My Way."
Now, J. Cole's manager, Ibrahim “Ib” Hamad has addressed what really went down with that track, and why they decided to use it anyway in an interview with Billboard. He basically says the song was initially made for Cole's last album 2104 Forest Hills Drive and they ended up saving it and using it on his new project.
“I wouldn’t say there was any hesitation because I felt like it’s just two totally different songs," he said of the beat. "We had already made ‘Déjà Vu,’ like that song was literally made for his last album [2014 Forest Hills Drive] and we just knew it would fit better because of the story he wanted to tell on the album. Cole had already made the song, so when Bryson’s album came out and we heard it, it was a feeling like, ‘Damn, he used the same sample.’ But to Cole, it don’t matter. He’s not competing with Bryson. What Bryson’s song did was incredible, and to Cole, it was like, ‘It’s a part of the story I want to tell, so I’m gonna use [the beat].’ We didn’t really know the backstory at the time of what happened with Vinylz and Boi1da and [ForeignTeck] who made the beat. That was none of our concern.”
He also explained why they decided to take off "False Prophets" and "Everybody Dies" to he disappointment of listeners who were happy to hear something a little more hard-hitting and direct from the North Carolina rapper.
“The album was initially like 13, 14 songs and then just at the last second, we kind of were like, ‘Look, if we’re trying to tell a story, let’s just make it as clear as possible and cut it down to that.’ So when we cut out ‘False Prophets’ and ‘Everybody Dies,’ it really hurt,” Hamad said. “[…] We really wanted [the songs] on the album and it was like we still wanted people to hear it but we didn’t want to put the music out because we knew it wasn’t a real representation of the album.”