How a 9 Minute EarthGang Posse Cut Became J. Cole's "Jermaine's Interlude"

The backstory on the making of the "Major Key" inclusion as told by EarthGang.

“Jermaine’s Interlude” has become one of my favorite songs of 2016. J. Cole’s verse is full of sorrow, but hearing him rap with such passion is something I can’t help but rewind. DJ Khaled didn’t receive some throwaway; Cole gave him a shiny gem for Major Key. More than just Cole - the beat by Hollywood JB, and the infectious refrain by EarthGang’s Johnny Venus and Doctur Dot along with J.I.D. truly makes for a special record.

Their appearance on the song was somewhat eyebrow raising, which made me wonder how the song came about?

JB, EarthGang, and J.I.D. are all apart of Spillage Village - an Atlanta based collective.  EarthGang opened for Bas this year on his Too High To Riot Tour; they were on the road with Ab-Soul back in 2014, for the These Days Tour, where Bas was also an opener. J.I.D appeared on Omen’s Elephant Ears Tour at the end of 2015. Connections made.

Spillage Village and Dreamville have intersected on the road for years, but “Jermaine’s Interlude” is the first time the two camps appeared on a record together. And what a record! Lauren Nostro of Genius spoke with EarthGang this week, to discuss how the song came together that was recorded back in January. Surprisingly, the song wasn’t crafted in some big studio, but while J. Cole paid a visit to them at a friend’s house in Atlanta. A blunt being passed in the garage was the casual setting that eventually lead to J. Cole recording what would later become “Jermaine’s Interlude.”

The song wasn’t even meant for J. Cole, it was originally a Spillage Village posse cut that the collective wanted Bas to appear on. That version of the the song was nine minutes long. I’m assuming all the artists from the collective had a verse - think All City Chess Club’s version of “I’m Beaming.”

As the story goes, J. Cole was infatuated with the beat. Like any rapper who feels an attraction to captivating production, he can’t quiet the hunger to write and record. That’s how Cole ended up appearing on the song, but it wasn’t until later, when EarthGang was on the final tour stop with Bas, did they hear about their verses being removed from the version that landed on Khaled’s Major Key album.

“We were just trying to get Bas to fuck with the song, but Cole was like, ‘I can’t resist this beat,’ so he hit the weed for the first time in a long time,” EarthGang’s Doctur Dot explained to Genius. “He overthinks on weed but we were in the garage smoking a blunt, the beat was running in the background. We stacked the hook up, we all had verses on it, it was a posse record and was like, nine verses long.” 

I’m intrigued by the song going from a nine minute long posse cut to a two minute interlude that appeared on one of the summer’s biggest albums. It doesn’t appear as if EarthGang has any ill will toward Cole, they’re on the song, everyone is credited - it’s a huge look for the group.

The duo admitted there’s a chance the original song might surface, and since they never divulged if Bas delivered a verse, this has the potential of being a Dreamville/Spillage Village posse record. With such a pleasant loop for a beat, I wouldn’t mind hearing what the song sounds like with everyone included.

The refrain sounds good, but EarthGang and J.I.D. aren’t the kind of rappers that slack when it comes to rhymes. May the music Gods bless are ears one day.

By Yoh, aka Yoh's Interlude aka @Yoh31

Photo Credit: Instagram