J. Cole's "7 Minute Drill" Came From One of His '7-Minute' Exercises, According to Producer T-Minus

Producer T-Minus reveals new details about the quick creative process behind J. Cole's response to Kendrick Lamar.

Image via Getty / Erika Goldring

There's a very specific reason why J. Cole's response to Kendrick Lamar is titled "7 Minute Drill."

According to the song's co-producer T-Minus, J. Cole has been tasking himself with literal seven-minute writing exercises lately, and "7 Minute Drill" was created during one of them.

"Cole likes to do these writing drills," T-Minus told Complex's Jordan Rose on Friday evening, midway through a Dreamville Festival panel called Chasing the Feeling. "He calls them 'seven-minute writing drills.' He'll write a joint for like seven minutes and see how far he can get. But he also does it with production. So over the last few years, when we cook up, he'll be like, 'Yo, make a beat in seven minutes. Go.'"

T-Minus on the making of "7 Minute Drill" 👀

- J. Cole’s verse came from one of his 7-minute exercises.
- T-Minus made the beat in 7 minutes.
- J. Cole asked T-Minus to give him a word to start the song with...

"I looked at my FL Studios system and I saw the word 'light'… and… pic.twitter.com/PnqmOPsdBi

— Complex Music (@ComplexMusic) April 5, 2024
Twitter: @ComplexMusic

Sometime between the release of Kendrick's "Like That" diss and now, Cole and T-Minus sat down to do a seven-minute drill in the studio, which ultimately birthed both the beat and the verse for "7 Minute Drill." As T-Minus revealed, "We're in the studio and Cole is like, 'Yo, do a seven-minute beat. Let's go. Quick. Quick.' And sometimes I'll be like, 'You do a verse in seven minutes.' So after I did my seven-minute beat, I was like, 'It's your turn.' He's like, 'Yo, give me a word.' So I looked at my FL Studio system and I saw the word 'light,' so I was like, 'light.' He took it from there and started with 'light.' I left the room, gave him seven minutes, and came back. He's like, 'Yo, just give me another seven minutes. I think I've got something going.' And, you know, the rest is history."

It's unclear exactly how many minutes Cole took to complete the verse, since it sounds like he used some additional time to polish it off after the initial seven minutes, but it seems it was completed in a very short amount of time—potentially around 14 minutes, if you do the math from T-Minus' story.

Cole's manager Ibrahim Hamad recently spoke about these seven-minute drills during an interview on the Say Less Podcast, explaining, "It's basically his way of breaking out of overthinking."

.@KingOfQueenz speaking on J. Cole's 7 minute drills ✍️

"It's basically his way of breaking out of overthinking."

(🎥 Say Less Podcast) pic.twitter.com/Or45ENJ8SK

— Complex Music (@ComplexMusic) April 5, 2024
Twitter: @ComplexMusic

Elsewhere in Jordan Rose's panel with T-Minus, the producer revealed that there actually isn’t a sample of Drake's “Energy” in the second half of the beat (produced by Conductor Williams), despite what many fans on Twitter have been saying.

T-Minus says there was no “Energy” sample on “7 Minute Drill” pic.twitter.com/nARtYyXetO

— Complex Music (@ComplexMusic) April 6, 2024
Twitter: @ComplexMusic

As Dreamville Festival unfolds this weekend, it'll be interesting to see how this back-and-forth develops. It's going to be a fun spring.

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