Big Sean Helped Connect Royce 5’9″ and J. Cole for “Boblo Boat”
Royce 5'9" started 2018 blazing and doesn't seem to be letting up any time soon. Fresh off of his second PRhyme album with DJ Premier, the Detroit lyricist is preparing to release his next solo LP, The Book of Ryan, which is set to drop on Friday. He linked up with J. Cole for "Boblo Boat," the first taste from the album that came to be thanks to a referral from a mutual rap buddy.
Back in July, Cole passed through Detroit for a stop on the 4 Your Eyez Only tour. He stuck around for an extra day to make a cameo appearance on Kendrick Lamar's DAMN. tour the following night, but wanted to get some recording time on the off day.
"He called Big Sean and asked him if he knew of a studio," Royce tells XXL. "So Sean was like, 'Hold on, let me hit Royce'... I'm like, 'Of course he can use my studio.'"
Royce continues: "He came through and I thought he was just going to use the studio—I was about to leave. He was like, 'Yo, let me hear something. You got some music or something that you're working on?' I played him a few things, he started playing me some beats. One thing led to another and we did a few things."
Anticipation for the collaboration began as soon as Royce posted photos of himself and J. Cole at his own Heaven Studio last year. It bubbled up once again in January when producer S1 posted images of Cole and Royce on set of a carnival-themed music video shoot. Royce finally unveiled the nostalgic track and its video last month.
The song finds the two wordsmiths reflecting on their respective childhoods over an 808 Ray- and Cool & Dre-produced beat that samples Michał Urbaniak and Urszula Dudziak's "A Day in the Park" (Skyzoo used the same sample for "Parks & Recreation" on this year's In Celebration of Us).
"Boblo Boat" marks Cole and Royce's first collaboration, although the Detroit lyricist has previously worked with Dreamville duo EarthGang. He's previously given props to Cole and Kendrick Lamar for finding success via lyrical styles.
The Book of Ryan, Royce's seventh solo studio album, drops on Friday (April 6).
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