Backbeat: J. Cole Previews 'Cole World: The Sideline Story' at NYC Listening Party
Backbeat: J. Cole Previews 'Cole World: The Sideline Story' at NYC Listening Party
J Cole
From left: Billboard.com editorial assistant Jason Lipshutz; Roc Nation publicist Jana Fleishman; J. Cole; Billboard associate editor Erika Ramirez (Photo: Matt Campbell) /WireImage)

North Carolina rapper J. Cole previewed his long-awaited debut album, "Cole World: The Sideline Story," during a listening session at Santos Party House in New York on Monday night.

Sitting onstage behind a laptop, the MC played tracks like the somber "Breakdown," the sensual "In the Morning" and "Mr. Nice Watch," a long-rumored collaboration with Jay-Z. Cole's entourage as well as RapRadar's Elliott Wilson could be seen onstage behind the rapper, nodding along and mouthing the words to "Watch."

"This is the first project I've released -- from [mixtapes like] 'The Warm Up,' 'Friday Night Lights' and 'The Come Up' -- that I myself can play front-to-back and not skip one song. And that's coming from the n---a who did the songs!" the rapper (real name: Jermaine Cole) told the crowd of "Cole World," which has been in the works since 2007.

Backbeat: J. Cole 'Mad Nervous' As He Premieres New 'Sideline Story' LP at Listening Session

On the morning after the show, Cole stopped by Billboard's New York production studio for an on-camera discussion about the album, which is due out Sept. 27. Fortunately, the chat didn't involve much movement -- Cole recently sprained his left ankle while playing a game of pick-up basketball, and has to walk with a pair of crutches.

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