J. Cole served up a first listen of Cole World at a private listening event at Santos Party House in New York City last night. The Roc Nation MC, who walked with a crutch after injuring his ankle, played tracks off his highly-anticipated debut, including collaborations with Missy Elliott (“Nobody’s Perfect”) and Jay-Z (“Mr. Nice Watch”). Mobile devices were taken at the door to prevent his hard work from leaking ahead of the album’s September 27 release.
Without a connection to the outside, the crowd of industry elite stepped into Cole’s world. The dimly-lit venue had posters adorning the walls, each containing a quote from one of his tracks in bold, block letters. A DJ spun hip-hop classics as reporters and label execs phonelessy forced themselves to make small talk until the man of the hour arrived.