J. Cole Felt ‘Free’ While Recording Born Sinner

'The freedom of not having to please the label, the machine, that was very inspiring,' Cole says of recording second album.

J. Cole has no doubt in his mind that the songs on Born Sinner, his upcoming sophomore album, will top those on his #1 debut Cole World: The Sideline Story. That confidence comes from the freedom he’s been given to create on his own terms after getting his first release out of the way.

“I don’t think it’s gonna be hard to top my first album. I don’t think that’s gonna be tough,” Cole tells MTV News confidently. “I think I got that.”

What makes him so sure? “Freedom, just [having] no pressure,” he said. “As soon as my first album dropped, all of this weight was off me and everything was flowing out and that lasted a long time, months and months. So just the freedom of not having to please the label, the machine, that was very inspiring.”

Just like he did on his major label debut, the North Carolina rapper will oversee production on the album and he plans to keep the features under wraps for as long as he can. “I’ve got a few other producers, but [it’s] really majority produced by me,” he said, adding, “[And] a couple features — key features, that I really wanted to get. I don’t even know if I’m gonna put the features on the track [I might just] let it be a surprise.”

We’ll go out on a limb here and guess that at least one of those features will be from Kendrick Lamar, whom Cole is also recording a joint project with &#8212 and praises quite often &#8212 but we’ll have to wait and see for sure.

“It definitely sounds like growth, [just] bigger and not in a corny way, not in a trying way,” Cole continued, explaining his progress. “It’s weird because I have these songs that are bigger and then I have these songs that are just as underground as some of my old stuff, it’s like always playing these two worlds.”

Born Sinner is currently scheduled to debut on J. Cole’s 28th birthday: January 28.

Tell us in the comments if you are looking forward to hearing Born Sinner?

A native of Grenada, a product of Brooklyn, a student of hip-hop.
@neweryork