J. Cole is from Fayetteville, North Carolina, but spent his formative rapper/producer years attending college in Queens, New York. So it makes sense that Cole dedicates "New York Times," a Born Sinner bonus track, to the borough that birthed 50 Cent—and brings Fiddy along for the ride. It's a perfect teaser to remind everyone that Cole's much anticipated sophomore album is coming on Tuesday, June 18, the same day as Kanye West's Yeezus.
For the beat, Cole dials up a nostalgic sound replete with piano plinks. The verses features Cole on his socially conscious kick, spitting heavy lines like "Once kings, now we pawns in this chess game / Wall Street got black slave bloodstains / which means we built this city / and never got scraps while the devil got fat." And just like Cole's Born Sinner track "Forbidden Fruit" features Kendrick Lamar in non-rapping mode, Cole only employs 50 Cent for a hook here. The track closes with Bas, an up-and-comer from Cole's Dreamville Records imprint. "New York Times" will appear on Born Sinner as one of five bonus tracks.