J. Cole’s new single “Middle Child” appeared with a splash just two days ago and it’s already one of the most buzzed about records of the year so far. That’s mainly due to fan speculation that the North Carolinian rapper takes shots at Kanye West on the song, but it also received a positive response thanks to J. Cole’s decision to rap on T-Minus’ bass-heavy beat rather than making his own as he usually does.
As it turns out, that was a very deliberate decision on his part and led to a working chemistry that got “Middle Child” finished in just one day, according to T-Minus. In new interview with Complex‘s Frazier Thorpe, the Canadian producer described the process of putting the record together, which he says they did before the much-heralded Revenge Of The Dreamers III sessions that saw social media light up with invites and behind the scenes photos from the ten-day session in Atlanta.
We actually put that record out before the Dreamville sessions. We did that in a completely different session. Just earlier times, about a month and a half or two months ago….
Initially I was just submitting some tracks to him through this guy named Tim Glover, who A&Rs for Dreamville. Eventually just being in LA in the scene, I ran into one of J. Cole’s old friends named Mat P, Matty P. He actually used to work for Universal, I believe. And from there, he just was like, “Oh you want me to put you in contact with Cole?” And then he linked me through email. I was sending beats to Cole through email and then we linked through text and then from there we’d just chop it up and send ideas…
The way we work is we kind of just start from scratch, and we just brainstorm from there. Him and his manager had an idea to pull a sample out, so we went online and we found this really cool loop. The moment we heard it, we all reacted to it.
Cole fell in love with it, and I could tell he had the vision for what he wanted. So he heard the sample and we were like, “Yo, we gotta do something on this.” So we started filling the track out. It all happened in one day. We filled this beat out, he started writing to it, he recorded it—it was pretty much done within that day. The whole record. It was just a moment and it was actually one of the last days of sessions that we did. We did like a five day run of just working, and it was the last day, so it came right in the nick of time.
T-Minus also explains how his “retirement” wasn’t really a retirement, how he’s grown as an artist and producer in the interim, and teases new work with Rich The Kid and Young Thug. While he spent some time playing it low key, it looks like he’s back in a big way and not going away again anytime soon.