J. Cole's second album Born Sinner is expected to sell more than 300,000 copies in its first week, but the album's biggest story has been "Let Nas Down," a track about Nas' reaction to breakthrough hit "Work Out." Slightly salacious, the song gets at one of the true tensions of rap music: lyricists learning to navigate the pop world. Cole, as it turns out, is doing plenty alright: "Work Out" maybe not withstanding, hits "Can't Get Enough" and "Power Trip" have connected with a large audience without betraying the essence of his music.
That Nas would remix "Let Nas Down" is an almost foregone conclusion, and this weekend did indeed bring "Made Nas Proud." In it, the Queensbridge legend affirms that Cole has lived up to the imagined pop ideal, and though his success should have rendered the gesture unnecessary, there's no doubt Cole's glad it exists.