J. Cole Talks Moving Up Album Release To Compete With Kanye West: Exclusive

Roc Nation


'It's a definite statement about how I feel about my album, which is confident,' the Roc Nation rapper says.

Yesterday (May 20), J. Cole announced he's moving up the release date of his upcoming album, "Born Sinner" to June 18. Initially, his sophomore album was slated for July. Coincidentally, June 18 is also the day that Kanye West debuts his sixth solo studio album, "Yeezus."

"Kanye West is one of the greatest artists of our generation. Which is exactly why I'm moving my release date up," he tweeted.

Soon after the announcement, J. Cole told Billboard's The Juice that not only was he aware of Kanye West's "Yeezus" release date, but once someone confirmed it, he decided to move up "Born Sinner" to June 18 to compete. "Instantly the lightbulb [turned on]... it got real. I made one phone call to somebody that would know, just to make sure first. As soon as I got it confirmed, I was like, 'Yo…' The idea hit me instantly: 'You got to go to that date,'" he said.

"I'm not going to sit [here]... I worked too hard to come a week later after Kanye West drops an amazing album. It'd be like, 'Oh and J.Cole dropped too, a week later.' Nah. I'm going to go see him on that date. He's the greatest. So it's like, I'm a competitor by nature so it was instant, it wasn't even a thought," the Roc Nation artist continued.

J.Cole's competitive move is testament to how strongly he believes in himself and his full-length opus: "It's a definite statement about how I feel about my album, which is confident."

Going up against Kanye West -- and Mac Miller's "Watching Movies With the Sound Off" album which also comes out on June 18 -- is strictly competitve for J. Cole and far from anything but so. "At the same time, let's not forget this is Kanye West. He bets 100, 1,000, whatever the perfect is. His track record is flawless. I'm only expecting an incredible album from him," he said.

"But I know what I have."

Reporting by Alex Gale.