After graduating college J. Cole released his debut mixtape in 2007. He named it The Come Up, a nod to his underground status. The Come Up, which was hosted by DJ On Point, featured soulful sound beats, raw and energetic drums, and an endless range of topics.
When he was younger, Cole ‘started trying things on the [Ensoniq] ASR-X Pro [Resampling Production Studio] . . . the red machine with just the drum pads.’
At first he would only make a beat when he found a sample that got him excited so that he was going through his mom’s records. When Cole finally found something that excited him, he says that he’d sample it and then put drums around it. It was always music first for the celebrity rapper and ‘I got better and better at putting drums to samples I chopped or looped. But then I watched a Pete Rock interview and he was like, “I always start with drums first.” At first I couldn’t imagine it, but it stuck with me, so one day I did start drums first and it changed the whole trajectory of me as a producer.’
In a previous interview Cole outlined how he creates his beats:
Cole: The song “Power Trip” [featuring Miguel], I started that beat real simply. That 808 you hear, it’s coming out of Logic with filters and into distortion I added to destroy the sound a little, because that’s what those analog samplers were doing. That’s the vibe I try to mimic, adding distortion or compression to an 808 or kick to give it some body and presence. A lot of it was on the digital side, but then me and my engineer Mez ran that sound through the SSL board and tweaked it because of how you can push the low-end extension on that board without peaking.
Cole’s fans can relate to his music and that is why he has such a large number of followers. He continues to make music because of all the lives he is affecting. Some fans have such incredible stories about how J. Cole has changed their livfeel
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