J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar’s Joint Album Will Probably Never Come Out

Don’t hold your breath for that rumored J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar album. Terrence “Punch” Henderson said the collaboration isn’t likely to drop. Ever.

On Friday night, a Twitter user asked the TDE co-president about the highly anticipated project’s expected release date. Unfortunately, Punch shattered many fans’ hopes with a two-word response: “probably never.”

Rumors of a K. Dot and Cole collaborative project have been circulating for years. They drew excitement again when they remixed each other's songs: Cole took “Alright,” and Kendrick took “A Tale of Two Citiez” for Black Friday in November 2015. Nearly a full year later, during a December 2016 interview on The Breakfast Club, TDE artist Ab-Soul confirmed the album was in fact real, but he refused to go into detail.

“I can’t speak on that. I wish I could,” Soul said before revealing he submitted a verse for the project. “I’m saying these guys move like the Mob. You never know with these guys. I just hope they use my verse. They just need to use my verse.”

Charlamagne The God asked for further confirmation: “But there is a Kendrick-Cole album?”

“They got it. They got something in the works,” Soul responded. “They’ve been working on that motherfucker for a while.”

Shortly after the interview, The Fader reached out to Soul for more information about the album. The 30-year-old, however, neither confirmed nor denied the project’s existence, simply writing: “It's a myth” *joker smile*.”

So is the Kendrick-Cole project sitting in a vault? Was it ever completed? Did they even begin recording? As of now, it all remains a big ol' mystery. And judging by Punch's recent tweet, it'll probably stay that way. 

More from Complex

Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Damn’ Returns to No. 1 on the Billboard 200

Kendrick Lamar's latest project Damn has returned to the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 albums chart. This is the fourth time K. Dot's fourth studio album finished the week at the top of the list. 

After earning just under 47,000 equivalent album units with 11,000 of which coming from traditional album sales this week, Damn came away with the No. 1 spot, barely surpassing Brett Eldredge’s self-titled album which took home 45,000 units. Where Damn did its most damage was in streaming equivalent units with 31,000. The album was the most-streamed title on the chart, generating 46.2 million on-demand audio streams. 

Damn has consistently lingered on the charts well after the album was released four months ago. However, this is the first time since the May 20 chart that the album finished the week at No. 1. The 13-week hiatus from the top spot is the longest span in more than four years. Previously, Babel, by Mumford & Sons, took 17 weeks to return to the top in March 2013.

Damn has also been able to take advantage of poor showings by its competitors. The project's approximate 47,000 units is the second lowest weekly total for a No. 1 album since the beginning of the Billboard 200 in 2014. Last week, Damn finished behind Everything Now by Arcade Fire, which was the only debut album that week to land in the top 25 on the albums chart. 

Even though Damn has gotten some help along the way, Kendrick's latest project doesn't show any signs in slowing down.

More from Complex

Rich Homie Quan Talks Kendrick Lamar vs. Drake and Addresses Biggie Lyrics Flub on ‘Everyday Struggle’

On today's Everyday Struggle, Joe Budden, DJ Akademiks, and Nadeska are joined by Rich Homie Quan for an in-depth conversation about Kendrick Lamar vs. DrakeChance the Rapper talking about the 90s, Trina's epic PSA, and more. Later, Quan opens up about his own career and breaks down what happened with him, Birdman, and Young Thug. He also addresses his infamous Biggie lyrics flub at the 2016 VH1 Hip Hop Honors​. 

More from Complex

Chance the Rapper: The ’90s Produced ‘So Many Fabricated Hood N***as’

A lot of traditionalist hip-hop fans would reject this premise, but rarely has there ever been a more diverse period for the genre. There are all sorts of colorful personalities in the game right now, from a deep-thinking, hard-hitting lyricist like Kendrick Lamar, to a stage-diving, crooning rock star like Lil Uzi Vert. There's plenty of room to debate your preferences, but there have never been more options for listeners.

Chance the Rapper's brand of uplifting positivity is another slice of that bigger pie, and he credits some artists who came before him for opening the door for him. During an interview with Stretch and Bobbito for NPR, Chance credited Kanye West for opening the door for people like him, in a sense making it cool just to be yourself behind the mic.

“The fact that it's able to be a main stage or mainstream image, and accepted and celebrated is because of folks like Kanye,” said Chance. “[He] came in the game and was like 'This is who I am, and these are the type of things that I love, and I'm excited about them, and I don't necessarily have to carry myself as anybody that I'm not.' And people picked up on it.”

You can definitely look at Kanye as a major influence on what people think of when they hear the words “rap music.” He came into the game rocking polo and wearing backpacks, playing up his college dropout image. Though there were plenty of artists before him who showed multiple dimensions—2Pac comes to mind in particular—Kanye's particular brand of individuality is hard to deny.

This was important, Chance says, because when he was growing up, he believes artists felt they had to be or act a certain way to establish credibility. He specifically pointed to a particular brand of music during the '90s, when he felt there were too many studio gangsters pretending to be someone they weren't.

“There's always been a quiet conversation and joke that if you're not hard, if you're not from impoverished neighborhoods, if you're not certain constructs of a black stereotype, then you not black,” he explained. “Niggas kinda ran with that in the '90s I think, and that's why there were so many fabricated hood niggas. But now, a lot of black people have a lot more pride in being who they are, and understanding that is part of the black experience, is living and being who you are. I think it's more accepted on the main stage.”

Though it's at least a partial dig at '90s rap, it sounds like it was intended as more of a celebration of artists today, who feel like they have more options than they would have even 15 years ago. Maybe it's a reflection of how the audience for rap has grown and transformed over the last few decades, but it does feel like there's space for artists from all sorts of backgrounds, provided they have an interesting message to share.

You can listen to the full interview with Chance below, where he opens up about why he's dropped so many mixtapes, moving from Chicago to L.A., and donating $1 million to Chicago Public Schools earlier this year. The comments on Kanye's influence begin around 10:15. 

More from Complex

Kendrick Lamar Shares Thoughts on Wack Rappers, Ghostwriting, and Drake’s Music

This year belongs to Kendrick Lamar. For the latest chapter in the Damn era, Lamar appears on the cover of the new issue of Rolling Stone. The instaclassic interview sees Lamar reflecting on his recent successes and the state of the world around him, while also answering lighter inquiries about his favorite Drake songs and his unknowing involvement in Taylor Swift's public feud with Katy Perry.


A post shared by Rolling Stone (@rollingstone) on


At the top of the interview, Lamar is asked to reveal his vices. For Lamar, the biggest vice is being addicted to the chase of his work. “It turns into a vice when I shut off people that actually care for me, because I'm so indulged spreading this word,” he told writer Brian Hiatt. “Being on that stage, knowing that you're changing people's lives, that's a high.”

For Damn, Lamar said, the initial goal in the studio was to make a “hybrid” of good kid, m.A.A.d city and To Pimp a Butterfly. “That was our total focus, how to do that sonically, lyrically, through melody—and it came out exactly how I heard it in my head…It's all pieces of me ,” he said.

Asked about being “on some level” a pop artist, Lamar gave an insightful answer sprinkled with wink-winks:

It gets tricky because you can have that one big record, but you can still have that integrity at the same time. Not many can do it…wink-wink [laughs]. Still have them raps going crazy on that album and have a Number One record, wink-wink. Call it whatever you want to call it. As long as the artist remains true to the craft of hip-hop and the culture of it, it is what it is.

Lamar also gave his official definition of a “wack artist,” originally referenced on the Damn track “Element.” According to Lamar, a wack artist is someone seeking approval by using other people's art and chasing other artists' versions of success. “Everybody's not going to be able to be a Kendrick Lamar,” he said. “I'm not telling you to rap like me. Be you. Simple as that.”

And elsewhere, Lamar shared his thoughts on ghostwriting, which has obviously been a hot topic in rap in recent years. He said that he feels it's impossible to consider yourself one of the best rappers if you use a ghostwriter to create your songs. “I called myself the best rapper. I cannot call myself the best rapper if I have a ghostwriter,” he said. “If you're saying you're a different type of artist and you don't really care about the art form of being the best rapper, then so be it. Make great music. But the title, it won't be there.”

Hiatt and Lamar later touched on “Humble,” Trump, Drake (“I got a lot of favorite Drake songs”), Beyoncé, Future, his relationship with Bono, fielding acting offers, and—seriously—a ton more.

Read Lamar's full Rolling Stone interview, featuring photography by Mark Seliger, right here.

More from Complex

Joe Budden and DJ Akademiks Discuss R. Kelly’s Alleged Sex Cult on ‘Everyday Struggle’

On today's Everyday Struggle, Joe Budden, DJ Akademiks, and Nadeska discuss the rumor that R. Kelly is running a sex cult, if Puff Daddy's son Christian Combs has a shot at a successful rap career, and 50 Cent saying his new album will be dumbed down for the culture. They also break down Aaron Carter's recent DUI arrest, Tyga's new mixtape tracklist, and Kendrick Lamar doing a good deed for a fan.

More from Complex

Kendrick Lamar Buys a Life-Changing Wheel-Chair Accessible Van for One of His Fans

Kendrick Lamar gave one of his biggest fans a huge and heartwarming gift.

During the Dallas stop of the Damn Tour, Kendrick took the time to catch up with a quadriplegic woman named Jennifer Phillips, who has used a wheelchair ever since a 2007 car accident that caused a spinal cord injury. And although she has gone on to receive her college degree, take ski trips, and attend many concerts (eight of which were Kendrick shows), she said the only thing holding her back was her van. So, in 2016, Phillips started a GoFundMe page to raise money for a modified vehicle that would make traveling much easier. The page is no longer active, thanks to Kendrick’s generosity.

That’s right, Kendrick purchased the fan a new van. 

Phillips announced the gift on social media, along with a photo of the autographed Damn jacket Kendrick gave her. His note read: “Thank you for always supporting me. Your [sic] a inspiration for me. You are strong and positive. Your[sic] kind and beautiful. For all the years of inspiring me, the least I can do is make sure your comfortable driving the city. A gift from me to you. Your[sic] always appreciated! — K. Lamar.”

Phillips also received a customized Dallas Mavericks jersey with “Duckworth” on the back. She opened up about the experience on Instagram.

“If you know me or even just look in my Instagram profile for two minutes then you know I am a huge Kendrick Lamar and TDE fan/supporter for YEARS. I've been to every show Kendrick has had in Dallas,” she wrote. “[…]I was a big fan of music and concerts before my injury but I never supported and loved a label like theirs before. Of course they have great music but they are also great people […]I never supported them for any benefits like this lol. Their music and shows were enough for me. But this is amazing and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I love you all and always will. Thank God for you Kendrick and I will continue to pray for you. And like I said, next time I'm driving myself to your show lol. Thanks to the whole team!”

More from Complex

TDE Drops New Isaiah Rashad ‘The Sun’s Tirade’ Merch

TDE has shared new merch for Isaiah Rashad, who released his debut studio album The Sun's Tirade last September and is coming off an impressive collaboration with SZA from her own studio debut, Ctrl.

The new drop includes a pink hoodie with the cover art for The Sun's Tirade emblazoned on the front and the album title inscribed on the left arm. There's also a grey T-shirt that features both of those designs, but on the front and back of the shirt, respectively.

Check out the selections below and visit TDE's official online shop to pick them up, as well as items from Kendrick Lamar, SZA, and other members of the label. Rashad has a handful of festival dates lined up this summer, including Pitchfork and Panorama.

Image via TDE
Image via TDE
Image via TDE
Image via TDE

More from Complex

Kendrick Lamar Reveals ‘Damn’ Almost Had a Different Title, Says He Wrote TDE Rules That Went Viral

Kendrick Lamar was up early hitting the Los Angeles radio circuit. Trickling down this morning were two interviews, one with Power 106 on The Cruz Show and one on Real 92.3 on Big Boy's Neighborhood, featuring Kendrick opening up about a number of topics. No, forreal.

Around 8:09 of the above video with Power 106, the discussion of Kendrick being “the next 'Pac” comes up, which Kendrick calls “a whole lotta weight” before saying, “Being the next 'Pac, that's something way out of my control. I want to be who I am. All I can do is take the game and the ideas and the sparks and the knowledge that he's passed on, apply them to myself and who I am, and further it for the next kid who wants to be on that stage and actually speak for something and stand for something.”

“There can only be one 'Pac,” Kendrick added. He also later mentioned that 2Pac's “I Get Around” is his favorite '90s jam, which same. Speaking of throwbacks, they asked an interesting question about the last album that Kendrick downloaded illegally (which was Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP, on Napster), and for those of you wondering what Kendrick's first job was, here you go: he did a whole two weeks working security.

At the top of the interview (around 3:45), Kendrick revealed that he was the one that wrote those hilariously viral TDE studio rules, which, obviously. Apparently it spawned from the good kid, m.A.A.d. city days, with random people walking through the studio and fucking things up. Gotta keep those visitors in check!

While this was being uploaded to the internets, Kendrick was speaking to Big Boy, and mentioned a truly interesting thing: Damn was almost titled What Happens On Earth Stays On Earth, which is kind of cold but also, admittedly, kind of a long title.

Kendrick also got asked if he considers himself the “G.O.A.T” on the mic, and he kept it a buck.


#KendrickLamar says he’s the goat.. Facts or Fiction?

A post shared by DJ Akademiks (@akadmiks) on Jun 28, 2017 at 11:33pm PDT

His answer makes perfect sense: “I got to. What's the point of doing it if you don't want to be the best at what you're doing?”

Wise words from K.Dot.

More from Complex

Watch Future and Kendrick Lamar Perform “Mask Off” (Remix) at 2017 BET Awards

Future has developed a habit of putting together some of the best surprises whenever he hits a stage in Los Angeles.

Remember when Future got 21 Savage, Schoolboy Q, Ty Dolla Sign, and Drake to make an appearance during the L.A. stop on his Nobody Safe Tour earlier this month? When it was announced that Future was one of the performers for tonight's 2017 BET Awards, you had to think that he had something up his sleeve. Then, we got our answer.  

Of course, people were more than hyped up over the last-minute announcement.

Back in May, Future took a banger of a song in “Mask Off,” and added a guest verse from one of the hottest rappers in the game in Kendrick Lamar for the official remix. However, the two haven't hopped on a major stage to perform their banger…until tonight. Even though the 2017 BET Awards has already featured some incredible collaborations and performances, you know that the combination of Future, K. Dot, and the flutes from “Mask Off” would surely set things off. And as expected, their performance didn't fail to impress. You can watch it above.

More from Complex