The Making of J. Cole's "Cole World: The Sideline Story"

“Nobody’s Perfect” f/ Missy Elliott

Producer: J. Cole

J. Cole: “I made that beat in the studio. These songs are coming from me last minute, realizing what the album is missing. I realized that the album was missing some cool, rider shit. Shit you just ride to and not really over-think.

“I had the first six lines of those raps. I wrote them in the car on the way to the studio and they went perfectly with the beat I had just made. I make a beat and the words matched the beat. That’s rare, when the words are there first.

 
Missy Elliott did a version [of the hook] which was great. But I just wanted her to be just a little more calm on the first half of the hook. I didn’t know if I could really tell her. I was debating, ‘Should I ask her to redo it? Is that rude? She’s such a legend.’ Luckily, I sent her a text and she was so cool about it. - J. Cole
 

“I try to let if flow out, that’s it. Let the melody flow out, let the words flow out. Like on ‘Nobody’s Perfect,’ that shit just flowed out. First, it was the melody that flowed out, then the words just came. I didn’t even think about it. That’s why the hook is so good. I didn’t even think about that.

“There’s a good balance [on the album] of my current sound or my progression and where I was a couple years ago. I also evolved because I added things, I added production, I re-recorded vocals. ‘Lost Ones’ is rerecorded. ‘Breakdown’ is the same exact vocals from when I first laid them. ‘Lights Please’ was re-recorded recently. After I got the deal, I rerecorded it. I added strings.

“After I made that song, I was like, ‘We should put Missy on it,’ because t sounded like Aaliyah. It sounded like an Aaliyah song with Timbaland-style drum patterns. So, I was like, ‘Oh, shit. What better way to bring that to life? And with Missy, who I love.’ [I got in contact with Missy through] management.

“Missy Elliott did a version [of the hook] which was great. But I just wanted her to be just a little more calm on the first half of the hook. I didn’t know if I could really tell her. I was debating, ‘Should I ask her to redo it? Is that rude? She’s such a legend.’ Luckily, I sent her a text and she was so cool about it. She was like, ‘Yo, I’m driving away from the studio right now, but if that’s exactly what you want me to do, I’ll turn around right now and go do it.’ She was so with it and so cool about it.

 
[Missy hasn’t put out material in years] and that’s what makes it so great. What’s even better, though, is she’s back to work but I’m not sure exactly what she’s doing. If so, what better way to come back in the game? - J. Cole
 

“[Missy hasn’t put out material in years] and that’s what makes it so great. What’s even better, though, is she’s back to work but I’m not sure exactly what she’s doing. If so, what better way to come back in the game? I just feel honored she got on the song with me.”

Mark Pitts (J. Cole’s Manager): “It was very last minute. We were mastering on a Friday and we were in 9-1-1 mode. He mentioned Missy Elliott and I reached out to her manager, Mona Scott, and we got it done that weekend.

“I knew from Violator [Management], we came in the game together. We’re all come from that same generation: Me, her, Chris Lightly, all of us came up [at the same time]. [Getting Missy on the song] was a favor.

“That’s the beauty of Cole: He knows, creatively, what’s best for the record and how it sounds. With Missy, it just fit.

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