Since dropping the new single "Power Trip" from his highly anticipated sophomore album, Born Sinner, last Thursday, J. Cole has hardly been able to contain his excitement about his latest work. Speaking to MTV News from the NBA All-Star Weekend in Houston, Cole compared the track, which features "All I Want Is You" collaborator Miguel on the hook, to Justin Timberlake’s 2002 mega-hit "Cry Me a River."
"The most exciting part about that song and the reason why we went with it is because it sounds like nothing that's out," Cole said of "Power Trip," which finds him reflecting on love and success over a futuristic drum loop and jazz-inspired melody.
Now a major figure in the evolution of rap's next generation, Cole spent 2012 growing as an artist and seeking inspiration that would keep him ahead of the commercial curve. Timberlake’s breakout solo hit was clearly motivation, as the Fayetteville, NC, rhymer reminisced to MTV about the Scott Storch-produced track’s impact on pop music. "The minute ("Cry Me a River") came on... it hit you a certain kinda way," he said.
Cole's dedication to swimming against mainstream rap's current trends is what first made the Roc Nation MC/producer stand out to listeners when he signed in 2009. After riding his 2011 debut, Cole World: The Sideline Story, to commercial and critical success, he is apparently still grounded by the artistic ambition that initially endeared him to fans.
Following the recent decision to push Born Sinner back from its original January 28 release, Cole’s choice of single was crucial to maintaining the momentum he built with Cole World. He admitted that he was torn between "Power Trip" and another unnamed track before ultimately choosing the self-produced track that finds him sadly crooning, "She got me up all night/All I’m singing is love songs."
"You couldn't point to any song on the radio and be like, 'This sounds like that,'" said Cole of the single, proudly, while displaying clear confidence in his growth. "Everything about it, from the beat to even the way I'm flowing — you never really heard me rap so sleepily. I really did those verses in my crib and just loved the way they felt."
Born Sinner’s new release date is yet to be determined.
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