June 18 was a monstrous day for hip-hop, with Kanye West, J. Cole and Mac Miller all dropping big projects. J. Cole made a calculated decision to have his Born Sinner release date coincide with Kanye’s Yeezus, but during his visit to “RapFix Live” on Wednesday, the Roc Nation rapper explained that it was “more about the statement” than the sales.
As host Sway Calloway pointed out during the interview, Cole even addresses his decision to go up against ‘Ye on the Born Sinner track “Forbidden Fruit,” rapping, “I’ma drop the album the same day as Kanye/ Just to show the boys the man now like Wanyá.”
Cole explained that he had no illusions about being able to compete with Kanye’s iconic status — he simply wanted to make a point by changing the album’s original June 25 release date, which would have put him up against Wale’s The Gifted.
“I could’ve left it right where I was and just gone head-to-head with Wale and seen what happened there. I would’ve had a much better chance, but it wasn’t about the sales,” he said. “That would be a nice bonus, but it’s more about the statement, [and putting] my name in the conversation. I’ma throw my name in the hat.
“This is art, and I can’t compete against the Kanye West celebrity and the status that he’s earned just from being a genius,” Cole added. “But I can put my name in the hat and tell you that I think my album is great and you be the judge and you decide.”
Kanye’s Yeezus album is projected to sell up to 380,000 copies in its first week, while J. Cole is on course to sell close to 300K with Born Sinner.