Producer: Brian Kidd
J. Cole: “I got the beat from Brian Kidd in L.A. I laid a little reference down in the studio, then I wrote the rest of the song on the plane. When I landed in New York, I went to the crib, recorded the song in my bedroom. I knew I had something special.”
No I.D.: “I used to live in Atlanta and play basketball against this guy and we'd always get in these arguments. It turned out to be Polow Da Don. It was before Polow was the Polow that we know. One day an A&R over at Interscope said ‘I want you to meet this guy Polo and Brian Kidd.’ I went over and I was like, ‘Aw man, it's you!’ And he was like,’Oh, it's you.’
“So Brian and Polo had been working and I heard a couple beats. Brian had worked with Timbaland before but nobody really knew him. So I was like, ‘Wait a minute, this guy is a little hidden gem in the corner.’ So I made my way to a friendship and relationship with him.
“I found that he was an incredibly talented guy that wasn't getting the exposure that he needed. So when I went to L.A. I called him and said, ‘You need to come out here. You need to get in this studio right next to me. We need to work. As things come our way I'm gong to pass them too you because I know you just need opportunity and you don't need a middle man trying to middle man the opportunity.’
“When Cole came through, I knew Cole always wanted to learn. I learned a lot from Brian myself. So I was like to Cole, ‘You should really go next door. If not a beat, you'll learn something from him.’ I wanted Cole to get in there because at that time, I felt he just needed to know some techniques. I'm big on giving the credit to people who discover the techniques, so certain things I was sharing with Cole, I was like, ‘Brian is the father of that, go next door.’
“Brian just happened to have that beat and that just happened. An average situation like that, [I could have] tried to put Bryan under me and act like I did it. I'm like, ‘Nah, the guy is just getting his records, he needs to be out, and I helped.’”
J. Cole: “I went to the Drake concert at Radio City Music Hall. That night, I seen Trey Songz. That’s when the idea popped in my head like, ‘Yo, maybe I can have Trey do the hook.’ Trey made it happen soon after that. I just knew we had something special right then and there.
“I knew what that was as soon as I did it. So, I actually thought that was going to be the single. I wanted to go with it right then and there, but everybody wasn’t on the same page.
“Once I realized we wasn’t going with that as the single. I needed some type of momentum. So, that’s when I said, ‘Fuck it,’ and I dropped Friday Night Lights.”
Mark Pitts (J. Cole’s Manager): “My philosophy of sequencing is that the first three songs are going to determine whether or not you’re going to love the album or not. You’ve got to get the attention fast. I don’t believe in doing sequencing based on what the story with the records are.
“You’ve got to keep everybody’s attention—just like a roller coaster ride. There shouldn’t be no dull moment. If I felt like there were five slow songs back to back, we’ve got to break that up.
“The first three records are ‘Dollar And A Dream III,’ ‘Can’t Get Enough,’ and ‘Lights Please.’ It just felt right [sequencing the first three tracks that way]. ‘Dollar And A Dream III,’ it gives you the energy of what you’re about to expect from the album. It gives you Cole talking and breaking shit down.
“‘Can’t Get Enough,’ is that joint that comes on that makes you want to get up and dance and move. You’ve got their attention, boom! Then, ‘Lights Please,’ it just fit melodically next to ‘Can’t Get Enough.’ It also gives you that feel of ‘this is how it all started.’
“[With ‘Can’t Get Enough’], I think it was a natural thing. It was a part of the [path] for Cole to become better and in relation with Jay pushing him. I know what Jay wants and when he heard that one, that was it. That was a no-brainer.
“[‘Work Out’] was supposed to be [the commercial record]. The thing about it is, it’s not the record that I would go with. It’s doing what it’s doing. Based on having the album coming so fast, he needed that automatic joint and I think that’s where ‘Can’t Get Enough’ comes into play.”