J. Cole is now an established star for the Roc Nation imprint, but the North Carolina native explained just how his journey to Jay-Z's label began. Cole told the Muve music Sessions the track "Lights Please," which would come to be included on his 2011 debut album Cole World: The Sideline Story, was the spark that got the elder Jay's attention.
“’Lights Please’ is a J. Cole classic. Meaning that all my fans or true fans that’s really been there for a minute are gonna recognize that song because it was on a mixtape I got called 'The Warm Up,'” J. Cole explained. “I did a show in 2009 in the summertime…and I said it onstage as I was performing the song in front of most of these people [who] didn’t really know me they might have heard [of me]. I was like, ‘Yea I’m about to do this song. I wanna do something for ya’ll it’s called ‘Lights Please.’ Even if I drop my album in 2012 this gonna be on the album.’ I said that not really knowing that my album would really almost drop in 2012. I said it just as a joke, but I was serious. That’s how much I love that song. That’s the song that got me so many meetings in the industry. It got me my meeting with Mark Pitts. Mark Pitts played it for Jay-Z. Jay-Z heard that song and that’s the reason why he even wanted to see me was from hearing ‘Lights Please.’”