J. Cole released his sophomore album, Born Sinner, last week to much commercial success, and it was almost unanimously hailed by critics as a huge improvement over his first radio-heavy album. My personal favorite track off the album was “Let Nas Down,” a Cole-produced joint that discussed his idolization of Nas while growing up, and then when he put out his first single, he heard that Nas hated it. He goes on to talk about how he found mainstream success, but it didn’t matter to him because the one person who he wanted to like it resented it.
Now Nas has put out a remix to the track and we get to hear his side of it, and the combination of the two songs makes a complete story. Nas discusses the pressures from labels, the expectations from fans for Cole to be the next Hov, and how Nas can relate to the struggles J. Cole went through in trying to find mainstream success while not selling out. Nas says “Radio records are needed, I just wanted it to bring the warning,” explaining he didn’t hate the song, he just didn’t want J. Cole to go down the wrong path. He flips the chorus into “You ain’t let Nas down, hows that sound? Here’s the crown, pass it to you like nothing, ni**a.” I must say in the long run I am happy that J. Cole let his idol down with his first album, because it allowed him to step up his game and make a truly great rap album in Born Sinner.