By now, the “J. Cole Went Double Platinum With No Features” meme is infamous. It seems as if you can’t escape a Hip-Hop-related comment section on a forum, article, or popular picture without somebody mentioning it. Even a solid two months after its peak, the meme, which celebrates the trailblazing success of Cole’s 3rd album, 2014 Forrest Hills Drive, still bares a strong presence on social media:
When you've told everyone you know j cole went platinum with no features but no one seems to care pic.twitter.com/NCCLiq9rqf
— Shelton Benjamin (@_derricklamar) August 9, 2016
When they dont know J.Cole is the first rapper in the last 25 years to go double platinum with no features pic.twitter.com/YYOrNmESlY
— Gxntex ツ (@Gxntex) August 16, 2016
When J COLE stans goes 5 minutes without saying J COLE went platinum with no features pic.twitter.com/pJ8XGHSLGP
— Mister Exxon (@ExxonKEV) August 2, 2016
yes julz sextape is a government plot to distract us from the fact that J Cole went double platinum with no features
— v (@vallrusso) August 13, 2016
If I had a dollar for every time someone jokingly told me J. Cole went platinum with no features, I would kill myself.
— ItsTheReal (@itsthereal) August 21, 2016
However, did you know that there was almost a period in which J. Cole would have gone double platinum with two features? That’s right — during the recording of 2014 Forrest Hills Drive, J. Cole did in fact record a song with featured artists, legendary ones at that.
In an interview with HipHopDX dating back to September 2014, Bone Thugz-N-Harmony manager Steve Lobel claimed that members Bizzy Bone and Krayzie Bone were to be featured on a track set for Cole’s next album. Said Lobel on the song:
“We just went to the studio with J. Cole, Krayzie’s gonna be on J. Cole’s new album. J. Cole didn’t even know Bone’s story, how they took a Greyhound to meet Eazy. Then J. Cole was telling his story and Kray is like, ‘I’m gonna tell you my story.’ But we’re gonna let Cole tell it first. The record’s fucking crazy. Crazy. Bizzy got on it, too.”
With Bone Thugs’ story, the “Eazy”, Lobel speaks of is of course Eazy-E, who went on to sign the Cleveland-originated group to his record label, Ruthless Records. The group enjoyed commercial and critical success on the label for 15 years, before parting ways following the release of 2002’s Thug World Order. In fact, the group’s first three albums all surpassed platinum status, alas, they all contained features.
J. Cole is a well-documented Bone Thugs fan, having sampled their music for songs on his first two albums: While Cole World: A Sideline Story‘s “God’s Gift” samples their hit single, “1st of the Month”, the Roc Nation rapper interpolates lyrics of their Notorious B.I.G. collab, “Notorious Thugs”, for the Born Sinner deep cut, “Niggaz Know”.
While the song did not appear on 2014 FHD, there is still hope for its release. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony are slated to release their final album, East 1999 Legends, in the near future. With the group hoping to acquire a number of features (unlike Cole) for the album, perhaps there is still hope of the record releasing one day…