J. Cole previews new album with totally innovative listening session...is what we would have said a month ago.
Date: June 6
In a not-so-faint echo of Kanye West's premiere of "New Slaves" as projections on buildings across the world, J. Cole combined technology, geolocation, marketing synergy, and news-cycle hype to premiere his sophomore album Born Sinner earlier this week.
We downloaded the app, appeared at the required location, watched Important People walk by us in line, and ultimately made it inside a theater. We then traded our drivers' licenses for a pair of headphones from a Major Headphone Brand, struggled to figure out how to connect our apps to the streaming music, then listened as a loop of RJD2's "Ghostwriter" played and the event began. It started late, which was good, because it took awhile for people to fumble through the app installation process.
Then J. Cole himself hit the stage, and told a story about trying to create a hit, which occurred to him as being a necessary ingredient to being a successful rapper fairly late in the process of becoming a successful rapper. He described, in a long but endearing way, the exact same story he would tell more concisely in song form forty minutes later, on his song "Let Nas Down."
Then we heard the album, which, yesterday, the rapper offered for free streaming on his website. The record, which we covered in a knee-jerk manner here, is now streaming on Cole's site. —David Drake