Let Nas Down by J. Cole

Get the album, Born Sinner

Let Nas Down is probably my favorite song on J. Cole‘s new album, Born Sinner. It reminds me of the reason why, when I listen to rap and hip hop, that I make it apparent to listen and support conscious artists. What often times gets played on the radio are the same certain type of songs that exclude a great majority of artists out there trying to be heard. This scenario had played out for J. Cole, and being frustrated with the lack of radio time he came up with the song “Work Out ,” but was surprised by the reaction from the public. “It was the worst response I’ve ever gotten on any song I’ve ever put out. It was a terrible response,” he said, adding, “When I made that song, it was a triumph.”

J. Cole received a phone call from producer No I.D., who was in the studio with Nas and he said. “I was in the studio with Nas and we was talking about you and he was like, ‘Yo, why did he do that? Why did he put out that song? Don’t he know he’s the one? He ain’t gotta do that.’” The top charting song had put Cole in a difficult situation. “On the inside I was really hurt because I really idolized Nas,” Cole said. The situation soon was resolved and, “eventually ‘Work Out’ became a monster record,” said Cole. “It wouldn’t leave radio, it was a smash, and I’m grateful for that song. But at the time, it was hurtful. I really vented on that song.”

Annotate [Intro]

Freedom or jail, clips inserted

A baby’s being born same time a man is murdered

The beginning and end, so far as rap goes

It’s only natural, I explain my plateau

And also what defines my name


Yeah, long live the idols, may they never be your rivals

Pac was like Jesus, Nas wrote the Bible

Now what you’re ’bout to hear’s a tale of glory and sin

No I.D. my mentor now let the story begin

[Verse 1]

I used to print out Nas raps and tape ’em up on my wall

My niggas thought they was words, but it was pictures I saw

And since I wanted to draw, I used to read ’em in awe

Then he dropped Stillmatic, rocked the cleanest velour

Fast forward, who thought that I would meet him on tour?

I’m earnin’ stripes now nigga, got Adidas galore

Backstage I shook his hand, let him know that he’s the man

When he said he was a fan it was too hard to understand

No time to soak up the moment though, cause I was in a jam

Hov askin’ where’s the record that the radio could play

And I was strikin’ out for months, 9th inning feeling fear

Jeter under pressure, made the biggest hit of my career

But at first, that wasn’t clear, niggas had no idea

Dion called me when it dropped, sounded sad but sincere

Told me Nas heard your single and he hate that shit

Said you the one, yo why you make that shit

I can’t believe I let Nas down

Damn, my heart sunk to my stomach, I can’t believe I let Nas down

I got defensive on the phone, resentment was in my tone, fuck it


[Verse 2]

I couldn’t help but think that maybe I had made a mistake

I mean, you made “You Owe Me” dog, I thought that you could relate

But while I shot up the charts, you mean tellin’ me

That I was not up to par, when I followed my heart

Granted, my heart was tainted by my mind, I kept on sayin’

Where’s the hits? You ain’t got none

You know Jay would never put your album out without none

And dog, you know how come

Labels are archaic, formulaic with their outcomes

They don’t know, they just study the charts

Me, I study the shows, the fans, study their hearts

I had a feelin’ I was killin’, and this music we were spillin’ out

Would change lives forever, fuck the label, put it out

Friday Night Lights blew, that was classic number 2

Now it seemed as if the Nas comparisons was comin’ true

Still no release date from the label, are they insane

Gucc told me play the game to change the game but on the way

I let Nas down, I got no one to blame, I’m ashamed I let Nas down

But this is God’s plan, you could never understand, fuck it


[Verse 3]

I always believed in the bigger picture

If I could get them niggas to listen outside my core then I can open a door

Reintroduce ’em to honesty, show ’em that they need more

The difference between the pretenders and the Kendrick Lamars

And so, I took the fall like the son of the Lord

On the cross, dyin’ for that fake shit you niggas bought

For the past decade, if I should pass please let this be my last essay

Therefore I write from the heart

Apologies to OG’s for sacrificin’ my art

But I’m here for a greater purpose, I knew right from the start

I’m just a man of the people, not above but equal

And for the greater good I walk amongst the evil

Don’t cry mama, this the life I choose myself

Just pray along the way that I don’t lose myself

This is for the nigga that said that hip-hop was dead

I went to Hell to resurrect it, how could you fail to respect it

Lettin’ Nas down, I got the phone call quietly I mourned dog, I let Nas down

Yeah, and on this flight may I never lose sight, fuck it


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