While J. Cole  continues rocking crowds with his mixtape material as support on Rihanna 's Loud tour, the North Carolina rapper tells Billboard.com that his oft-delayed debut album will finally be released at "the back end of the summer," and will have an official title and first single shortly.
"The announcement's coming soon," says the 26-year-old rapper (real name: Jermaine Cole). "We gotta clear the sample for the single, which is taking super long, for whatever reason... but as soon as I drop that single I'll get the album title, the album release date, and then we're gonna have a great summer."
While Cole won't reveal too many details about his debut full-length, he says that the vibe of the album is "really heavy -- heavy in a good way. At first it hit a point where I was a little nervous; I thought it would be too emotional. But it ended up balancing really well, with fun and humor, and then some aggression, and then the really emotional-type of songs that I'm really good for. I feel like it's a really complete album."
Since his debut full-length has been in the works for well over a year, Cole says that he's tried to drop intermittent singles, like the track "Return of Simba" that was issued last month, to keep fans satisfied. However, J. Cole fans might not have to wait so long for more new material once the album comes out -- the rapper says that he's completed enough material for a new mixtape, which would follow 2010's "Friday Night Lights," and that he's already "really deep" into his sophomore album.
"If you think of how long I've been working on the album, it's only natural that I've collected an amount of songs that are really good," says Cole. As for what he plans to do with the songs pegged for a new mixtape, Cole says, "I'm debating it. It might be a mixtape before the album and it might turn into something I release after the album for sale, like an EP. I just know I have a lot of good music and it's kinda like, man, what do I do with it?"
For now, Cole is happy to keep collecting fans at high-profile live gigs: after playing to a massive crowd at his first Bonnaroo festival last Thursday, his tour alongside Rihanna continues tonight in Chicago. "It kills me every time, because I'm in this arena with 15,000 people that know my songs," he says. "When the album actually does drop, I can only imagine where this thing's going."
- Hip-Hop